Ricotta: Ravioli and Pumpkin Pie

Ricotta was on sale, so I bought some and decided to make it into a ravioli and a pie.  After learning from my mistakes while making pasta, I have settled on a method that has been working pretty well for me:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk

This ingredient set doubles well, also.  Most pasta recipes that I have found use less fluid, but they also tend to use AP flour or special pasta flour that I don't see at my supermarket.  Whole wheat flour seems to be thirstier, and if I use any less liquid, I end up with a crumbly dough that falls to pieces.  Mix up those ingredients (I just use a fork and my hands on a cutting board) until you get an evenly-moist wad, roll it into a ball, cover and let rest for half an hour (I put a big mug upside-down over it).

For each cup of flour that you used, tear your dough ball into three pieces, if you are using a pasta machine instead of a rolling pin.  Pound down a piece and roll it out.  On my machine, I rolled the sheets down to a size 2, except for one piece that I rolled to a size 1 as an experiment.  A ravioli that I made with size 1 dough broke in the boiling water, so I recommend using size 2.  You may have to experiment, too, since I don't know how to communicate that thickness.

I used a drinking glass to cut out circles from the dough sheets, and kept rolling the scraps together until all the dough was used.  I took a circle, brushed it with a mixture of egg and water (1 egg was more than enough to brush all the ravioli).  Then I put a heaping tablespoon of ricotta in the middle of the circle, covered it with another circle, and crimped the edges together all around with my fingers.  As an experiment, some I just pushed down, others I dug in with my fingernails, and others I folded over the edges to make a stronger seal.  None of the raviolis opened around a seam, so it didn't seem to matter how each was sealed, except aesthetically.

I made some spaghetti, too, and draped it over a dowel rod to dry.

The ravioli sat out for a while before it was time for dinner, and I don't know how that affected their cooking.  I carefully dropped them into boiling water until they were all floating, about six minutes.  I took out the ravioli with a skimmer.  I used an 8 oz can of tomato sauce that I heated in a pot with minced garlic and spices, and I dusted everything with some Parmesan (just Kraft).

They were pretty good.  Whole wheat pasta is an acquired taste, and ricotta cheese has very little flavor.  I am sure that they would be better with different kind of cheese inside, or some spices.  This was a very basic experiment, and I think it worked out well enough.  All the ravioli together cost about $1, and had about 700 calories.  Quite a bargain for dinner for two.  Add some green veggies.

The pie cost about $5 to make:

2 eggs - $0.20 - 140 calories
1 cup ricotta - ~$0.60 - 320 calories
3/4 cup brown sugar - $0.30 - 540 calories
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz canned pumpkin - $? - 175 calories
Pre-made graham cracker crust, store brand - $1 - 880 calories
4 oz Pecans - ~$1.25 ($5/lb) - 800 calories

Beat the eggs in a bowl.  Beat in the ricotta.  Stir in the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices.  Pour into the pie crust (yes, I am so lame for using a pre-made crust).  Put pecans on top.  Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes.

Very easy to make.  Each slice (1/8th of the pie) costs about $0.60 and has about 360 calories.

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