Guest Post: Gluten-Free Ravioli

I am so delighted to have Amy of Things We Make on the blog today, and wait til you see this gorgeous gluten free pasta she made!  Amy's blog is filled with lots of farm-fresh food and recipes, as well as beautiful crafty goodness.  Her interviews with artisans are always inspiring, so I recommend you trot on over after you finish this post!

This is more of a story than a recipe, partially in response to the sometimes feeling of defeat that I feel when looking at gorgeous food blogs—does everything those lovely people cook look so stunning?—and partially just a chance to reflect on what goes on in my own kitchen. Okay, disclaimer aside, here we go.

I’ve always loved cooking for other people, which means that each year when my husband Josh’s birthday rolls around, I tend to walk the line of overdoing it in the kitchen. That’s usually fine with him because it means that he gets his once-a-year Huckleberry Cheesecake, among other goodies, but this year I was determined to make a celebration-worthy something that he and I could both enjoy.

Since I gave up gluten about 8 months ago on account of the searing headaches that they cause when it builds up in my system, a lot has changed in my kitchen. I bake less, simply because the ingredients are more expensive, and I haven’t been brave enough to try some specialty foods that I loved to make with regular flour—like pasta. I’m Italian, so part of me feels like the memory of excellent homemade pasta is better than a crappy version of gluten-free, but I’m also competitive and want to succeed at hard tasks. And since Josh loves ravioli, I decided it was time for me to give gluten free ravioli a shot for his big day.

I studied up on this recipe for Gluten free Egg Pasta from Shauna. I bought the ingredients intending to make the pasta exactly as she did it to avoid any potential blunders. I know what pasta dough should feel like so I was relatively relaxed about the endeavor—at least at first.  

To be honest, the dough was pretty hard to work with. It looked and felt okay when it was in a ball, but after putting strips through the pasta machine, it didn’t hold up well. At all. I’m not sure what I did wrong but I was concentrating so hard that at one point I kicked a well-meaning Josh out of the kitchen…I didn’t want him to see how hard I was trying to salvage our dinner.

I’d made a traditional cheese and herb filling and I kinda-sorta managed to make ravioli-esque shapes out of the uncooperative dough. As I tried to make pockets without any tiny rips, I attempted to focus on the taste. Maybe they would miraculously taste okay!

Turns out, the filling stayed put (hooray!) and the pasta dumplings floated to the top of the boiling water when they were ready, just like all purpose or semolina pasta. I cooked the whole batch I made, gently tossed them with pesto, and hoped for the best.

After the first bite, I realized that my mistake of adding 1 tbsp of salt instead of the 1 tsp called for in the recipe makes for very salty dough. Whoops! But also, and more importantly, pesto makes everything delicious. And despite the slightly manhandled appearance of our dinner, my darling husband was grateful for my efforts, not just the end result.

That evening reminded me that often times I am incredibly hard on myself when there’s no good reason to be. It was just dinner!

When our meal was done and we’d eaten the whole batch (we cut the saltiness by adding chopped fresh tomatoes), I decided that it wasn’t that bad after all—the finished texture was actually pretty great. So good that I’m going to keep making this recipe until I get it the dough to handle better. After that realization, I gave myself the credit that I deserved for even attempting to make homemade gluten free ravioli in the first place and vowed to try to relax a little…and to avoid kicking the man I love out of the kitchen for something as petty as not wanting him to see me struggle.

Am I the only one who has a little blog-induced performance anxiety every once in a while?

P.S. These are not vegan as they have eggs and cheese in them—but if you can tolerate eggs, try making the filling with a cashew cream base.  I bet that would be delicious.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to go visit Amy's blog.  I'll be back next week with photos from the Smoky Mountains!