Thursday, May 22, 2008


This recipe makes an enormous amount of ravioli (we counted 113, or 8.5 dozen), plus enough pasta dough left over to make a few pounds of fettucini and sphaghetti. It also took us three about 5 hours to complete.


Ricotta – about 4 lbs. – drained (very important to drain it!)

Mozzarella – about 1 lb.

Lemon Rind – from about 2 lemons

Spinach – thawed from frozen, all water squeezed out & chopped fine – 1 pkg.

Eggs – about 5

Black pepper – a few dashes

(Combine all in a bowl & mix well; set aside)


Pasta Machine – or a rolling pin & a lot of muscles & energy

Flour – about 12 C.

Eggs – room temperature – 18 yolks AND 18 whole eggs

Olive Oil – to coat pasta to prevent drying

(If you wanted to make a “normal amount” – you should divide this recipe by 3)


Place four pounds of flour in a large bowl(s) or on a clean table & make a well in the middle

Add the 6 egg yolks one by one into the well & mix with your hand

Begin kneading to form a ball.

Add up to 6 extra whole eggs (yolk & white) until you can make a solid ball of dough.

Knead well until smooth (more or less) – about 5 minutes

Add extra flour only if needed

After kneading, cut ball into 4 to 8 pieces & oil lightly. Put back into the clean bowl & let rest about 20 min. – cover lightly

You can refrigerate this overnight at this point if you wish.

Set up pasta machine & set to the largest opening – on my machine that was #7.

Take one of the pieces of pasta & knead it again a little.

You may need a little flour on the surface or to cut the piece down even smaller to work with.

Flatten the piece slightly & elongate in order for it to be fed into the machine.

Progressively feed pasta dough into the machine – first through the largest opening several times & then down a size until you reach a very thin, almost see-through state (That was #3 on my machine)

You should now have a very long rectangular shape – cut off ends to even it out.

Begin placing about 1 large tablespoon of filling mixture slightly to one side of the dough as you are going to fold over the piece onto itself – allow for about a ½ inch margin at the edges and about 2 inches between each blob of cheese.

At this point, I took my fingers & dipped them in water & lightly moistened the area around the cheese blob where the dough will come in contact with each other.

Fold the dough down over the cheese blobs & press the dough down in place to seal all around each one.

Cut between each raviolo with a knife to separate.

Take a fork & with the tines press hard all around the 3 sides of the raviolo where the cheese could escape – sort of like you would when finishing a pie crust.

Susie recommended pricking the ravioli with the fork twice – as she said she had done this last time & none of her ravioli opened up during boiling.

Place each raviolo on a wax paper covered cookie sheet that has been dusted with flour & allow to “dry out” a bit, turning them over periodically.

Here is where we had a bit of a disagreement. Susie usually places the cookie trays into the refrigerator during this time, but we found that the ravioli began to stick to the wax paper.

Renae & I felt that we could probably just skip that stage & place the cookie trays directly into the freezer so as to harden each raviolo & then transfer them over into Ziploc bags until they are ready to be used.

Or, you could just let them cook them at this point if you like.

TIP: Use the little ends that you cut off from the dough to pass through the pasta machine & make little thin egg noodles for soups & not waste anything.

ANOTHER TIP: You could just use these sheets of pasta to make lasagna or cannelloni with by slicing them with a knife into the desired size.


Continue to make the long sheets of pasta as you did for the ravioli.

Very lightly flour each sheet & suspend from a clean broomstick suspended between two chair backs in order to let the pasta dry out slightly.

Flip each one after a while for even drying.

Obviously, due to the amount of moisture in the air & the dough the time this will take will vary, but we found about 20 minutes was sufficient.

Be careful not to let it dry out too much or it will be difficult to pass through the machine – you’ll just have to experiment a little here.

Place the crank into the whole next to the desired shape you want: fettucine (larger strips) or spaghettini (very thin ones)

Feed the sheet of dough through the machine with one hand as you crank with the other – it helps to have someone there “catching” the pasta as it comes out the other side (I found pulling slightly helped too)

As the pasta comes out, separate each one from one another (they sometimes stick) & place on wax paper in a low-sided cardboard box or cookie sheet.

Toss the pieces around so they will dry out without fusing together – so don’t place too much in one place or too thickly.

Put the boxes somewhere to dry where they will not be disturbed. You could place a fan on them to speed up the process if you like.

Don’t cover the pasta & be sure to turn it a few times to dry evenly. Don’t cover up the pasta when storing (this may be an old wife’s tale because you should be logically able to once it is completely dried out) – or just lightly cover with a loose sheet of plastic wrap or a clean cloth.

UPDATE (today):
From Susie:
"I made some of the ravioli last night. They came out well. I needed to cook them a bit longer than when
they surfaced. Look for the color change in the dough. I couldn't taste that much lemon in mine, but everyone has different tastes. I only think we had problems with sticking because they didn't air out well. I didn't think stacking them would be that much of a problem, but it did reduce the air circulation. "

Here’s what we’ll need:

Masa - Laurene

Chili Sauce - Laurene

Pork Meat - Renae

Cornhusks – Susie

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (to wrap the dozens of tamales afterwards)

Ziplock Bags for freezing each dozen tamales

Onions (for boiling the meat)

Several Heads of Garlic

Ground Cumin


BIG Pots with tight-fitting tops

Does anyone have any vegetable steamers? (Small metal things that you open up & place veggies on to steam them) – if so, bring them

Paper Towels

Scouring pads for pots

Old clean towels to go into the pots

Keep all your receipts & we will tally them up & divide the costs on Saturday.

This is going to be an all day affair – plan on about 8 hours from start to finished product – so we should probably plan on starting around 10:00 am or so & finishing around 6:00 pm. Also, it will really speed things up quite a bit if each of us can prepare our items at home the day before and bring it ready to begin assembling the day we make the tamales.

RENAE: I propose that Renae boils the pork a day ahead of time before bringing it here. If you has enough time & would like to cut & shred the meat up into tiny pieces as well, that would even be better & save us a lot of time. Be sure to save all the liquid that you boil it in, especially saving the fat that will rise to the top & harden overnight in the cold. We need that fat instead of buying lard that has been processed and is worse for you than the plain pork fat (believe it or not!). Boil the meat in water with a couple of whole onions, a little cumin, maybe a whole head of garlic & enough salt to season it well. (Transport the meat and liquids separately, please.)

SUSIE: Likewise, Susie, if you would soak the cornhusks in hot water on Friday night, pull them apart & take out all the corn silk & drain them to bring them on Saturday morning, ready to go – that would be great.

LAURENE: I will get the masa here ready to go and prepare the chili sauce.

Once we get here, we will need to warm up the pork broth and add it to the masa. The mixing of the masa is the singular hardest job of the whole process. I once mixed 40 lbs. Of masa – on my own – and woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain because I had over used my arm muscles. But if all 3 of us take turns, we should be able to get this done without too much effort. What we really need is a large mixer – not one of the handheld types – to mix the masa up quickly. Anyone have access to one we could borrow?

I also always add a little of the chili sauce to the masa to color it. Most people don’t & that’s why their tamales are so hard & tasteless.

Here’s the break down on the amount of masa in proportion to the number of tamales made:

Lbs. Of Masa Doz. Tamales Total # of Tamales Doz. Tamales Each # Each

40 lbs. 27 doz. 324 9 doz. Ea. 108

20 lbs. 13.5 doz. 162 4.5 doz. Ea. 54

10 lbs. 6.75 doz. 81 2.25 doz. Ea. 27

I propose that we buy 40 lbs. of masa. & make the 27 dozen.

Masa = 40 lbs. @ $.69/lb. = $27.60

Pork = Approx. $1.00/lb. = we’ll need about 15 - 20 lbs. total

Cornhusks = 1 lb. bags of dried cornhusks – you will have to estimate how many corn husks are in a bag & remember that we will be producing about 324 tamales (Ask someone at the store who might know). We will also need extras as not all the husks will be in one big piece and we will need to fit pieces together. Also, we will need to line the pots with the extra cornhusks as the tamales steam. So we’ll need quite a few. Look around to see where you can get the best deal on them – check the Mexican stores because they should be a lot cheaper than the regular gringo grocery stores. See if you can return any you don’t use with your receipt. They may let you as they can sell a lot of them during the Xmas season & they’ll always need more. Just don’t open all of the packages then until you get here (do one or two) and we’ll soak the rest here.

Finally, let me know what you girls like to drink & eat & I’ll try to have snacks & things here for us to nibble during the day. (Soda? Tea? Coffee? Sandwiches? Veggies & dip?) Help me out here because I don’t have a clue as to what you’d like. Don’t be shy!

Let me know if you have any questions. It’s hard work, but it’s fun.

UPDATE: 12-4-07

40 lbs. Masa = 20 lbs. Pork = 12 lbs. Cornhusks = Dry Chilis (?)

$27.60 + $20.00 + $14.00 = $61.60

It all came out to about $120.00 Total

UPDATE: December 19, 2007

40 lbs. Prepared Masa

20-24 lbs. Pork Butt

A little less than 20 oz. of Chile Ancho

Waaaay too many cornhusks

PS – they came out GREAT! Next time, don’t bother adding more than a very tiny bit of chilli to color the masa. It didn’t need it at all.

April 23, 2008

2nd Tamale-making Party:

We started at about 10:00 am & finished at about 6:00 pm

25 lbs masa – from Chicago Rd. Store @ $1.49/lb w/ lard (not enough)

(Don’t buy it from here again! Too dry)

We added a little bit of the chile to the masa – probably should have left some of the fat on the meat to keep them moister. (Would be really good with the addition of some skin)

12 lbs pork butt (enough for 25 lbs masa & a little left over)

End result: Made about 20 doz.

We used the leftover cornhusks from last time.

Note: You need about 1 pkg of cornhusks to each 5 lbs of masa (just an estimate).