Shanklish and artichoke ravioli is a fool-proof recipe for a first time pasta maker and any pasta fan around. It’s truly delicious and fun to make.
Believe it or not, Mrs make-everything-at-home (me), never made pasta! It’s probably Instagram which inspired me. Particularly Paola Bacchia, from @italyonmymind whose gorgeous photos and mouth watering recipes often learnt from her sweet Mamma (star of her IG feed), who made me want to cook Italian all the time.
My dream is to get a pasta guitar :) But in the meantime, Nana Bev, my mother in law, has lent me her shiny pasta machine to make perfectly flat ravioli sheets. So don’t expect expert advice here… But believe me, beginner’s luck or not, it was soooo good.
I had no idea what to put in my ravioli and didn’t have time to make ragu. I didn’t have any fancy ingredients either so this is what I found in my fridge: shanklish this flavoursome and spicy Lebanese “feta” ball, a jar of artichoke in oil and some fresh milk.
I made ricotta with the fresh milk following this recipe of mine and used the whey to make sourdough bread and pancakes.
Then I simply mixed half a shanklish ball with a few pieces of artichokes, cutting them roughly and mashing it up with a fork.
The pasta dough is dead simple. I mixed the eggs, water, flour and salt in my Kenwood Chef and its dough hook for 7 mins. First slow, then fast. The dough needs a bit of a rest. I left it 30 mins in the metal bowl covered with a wet towel. It looked quite dry and stiff compared to other doughs I’ve made. I put it through the largest setting of the pasta rolling machine several times (maybe 8 times) folding it on itself before each go, turning 1/4 of a turn each time. Then reducing the gap after each passage, I stopped at number 5.
I found it very difficult at first to get a nice rectangle. I got a sort of band of a strange shape with a tongue at the end… I need to experiment more on the rolling technique. I think that pressing with my palms to make a squarish shape with the dough before inserting it between the rolls helps. Also, at the end of the rolling, pulling on the sides to avoid the tongue effect seems to help too.
The other thing I found hard was stocking the sheet of dough before using them without each layer getting stuck to each other. Same thing actually when the sheet came out of the machine. I found the whole process hard to do by myself. My daughter Nilou helped me a lot. I put the sheet through and cranked slowly while she pulled the sheet out of the machine. We stopped regularly to dust flour so the sheet didn’t stick. I am sure I will find a better technique :)
To make the filling smooth and not too salty I added my homemade ricotta. You can skip this. I have made a few without, it’s very good too.
We used a square ravioli cutter Nilou got sent from France as a gift. It was a smallish one, ideal to make the most of the width of our dough sheets. When we were about to detach the dough around the ravioli we thought, geez, what a waist, let’s just cut the dough with scissors around them and leave a little band of dough. So we used the ravioli cutter to just press them down seal them if you want, but not cut them. See on the top photo in the background, what it looked like.
So here is the recipe:
- 300g plain flour
- 45ml warm water
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- ½ a ball of shanklish Lebanese cheese
- A small jar of artichoke in oil
- A small pot of ricotta (see my homemade recipe linked in the blog article)
- a slither of butter
- fresh lemon thyme
- Start with pasta dough. Mix all ingredients using a mixer with a dough hook or food processor for 7 mins starting slow, ending up fast.
- Leave the dough ball to rest in the mixer bowl covered with a wet towel for 30 mins.
- In the meantime, crumble the shanklish with a fork in a bowl.
- Strain artichoke pieces, cut them in smaller bits and mix with shanklish.
- When pasta dough has rested, divide it in 6 balls. Make a square-ish ball with each and roll it through the pasta machine on the widest setting (1). Fold what comes out in 3 or 4. Roll it in the opposite direction. Repeat a few times (I did 8). When the gluten is well broken and your dough is flexible but not wet (it should have the texture of play-doh) narrow the gap at each passage until your reach number 5. While you're doing that sprinkle flour on the band of dough at each passage. When it gets thinner I needed to sprinkle flour as it got out of the machine. Keep each sheet folded in two on a floured mat or towel or baking paper. Cut the folded side to make 2 sheets the same size.
- Place little piles of the shanklish and artichoke one of each double sheet. Add a bit of ricotta on top of each pile. The size of the piles depends of the space you got in the middle of your chosen ravioli cutter :)
- Place the other sheet of dough on top. Using your finger get rid of the air, pushing it out of the space between the two sheets of dough, making neat little mounts.
- You can then cut the ravioli out with the ravioli cutter or just press the cutter down to seal the dough and cut around it (as I did on the top photo in the blog post). Be careful when you have cut a batch to put them well separated from each other and dusted with flour.
- Cook for 3 minutes in salted boiling water.
- Serve with a bit of fresh butter or fresh lemon thyme cooked in butter for a few minutes.