How to Use a Ravioli Stamp
Pasta is one of the most popular foodstuffs around and it’s easy to see why. It can be simple to prepare and cook or it can stretch your culinary skills through more complex forms. You can tailor the accompanying sauce to your taste and match it to a particular type of pasta.
But there is one pasta dish which will allow a cook to indulge themselves – ravioli. Ravioli can be traced back to the 14th century and remains a favorite for many. Making it by hand from scratch is a laborious process: getting the right mix of flour and egg for the dough, kneading and rolling the dough until you arrive at the optimum thickness, creating and then filling the little pockets of pasta with one’s preferred mix before sealing them neatly. It’s a bit of a performance, although the tactile interaction with the ingredients is satisfying.
Of course, there are kitchen equipment and utensils on hand to make the process easier. Pasta machines, cutters, molds will all individually or collectively help. But there remains a preference among many experienced cooks, especially those with enough time for the traditional ravioli stamp. We’re here to tell you what’s good about it, what to look out for and, above all, how to use a ravioli stamp.
What Is a Ravioli Stamp?
There is something pleasingly medieval about the classic wooden-handled ravioli stamp. Release your imagination and you envisage it as the prototype for a piece of ancient torture equipment. It must be the serrated edges or the clamp-like nature of the metal/brass part or maybe even the branding iron appearance. I will quickly point out that there’s nothing sinister about its usage and we’re here to talk about cooking, not grim movie scenes.
The ravioli stamp looks like the stamp which you see the clerical staff use to date-stamp documentation. The stamp part can be circular or square or star-shaped. There are other shapes, but they tend towards the novelty side of kitchen activity or cooking for kids. Many sizes are available, although most will fall within the range of between one and two inches.
How does It Work?
Ok, you have the sheets of pasta ready and you’re happy with the thickness. You will need two sheets of pasta per portion of ravioli, and the dimensions of those sheets will be determined by how many people you are cooking for. It doesn’t fall within the remit of this guide to advise on what those dimensions should be; we’re more interested in instructing on producing the ravioli pieces rather than the quantity involved.
Place one sheet of pasta on the work surface where you will have already sprinkled some flour to ensure that the dough will not stick. Get your bowl of filling and spoon individual portions into small spherical mounds dotted around the pasta sheet with regularly spaced gaps between them. Gently place the second sheet of pasta on top of these balls of filling so that small hillocks emerge and sprinkle some more flour over that sheet. These are your ravioli pockets, and this is where the ravioli stamp comes into play but, first, it is advisable to gently press the pasta around the hillocks to expel any air trapped inside.
Place the stamp over the small hillocks and firmly press it down and rotate the stamp slightly to cut through the pasta dough. Repeat the procedure until all the hillocks have a perforated base which you can gently tear away to leave the ravioli pieces with their precious filling sealed inside. If you have used a circular stamp, there will be small scraps of pasta dough left which can be scooped into a ball to be added to the dough for another sheet or another occasion.
Are Other Ways of Creating Ravioli an Option?
Yes! Using a ravioli stamp is probably the most labor-intensive method as each piece of ravioli has to be fashioned individually. Using a mold (or tray or tablet as they are also known) is a method that will create the batch of ravioli at once and all that is required is to separate them. Using a bespoke ravioli attachment to a pasta machine is also straightforward.
But something may be lost by doing so. It’ll take less time, but using a ravioli stamp gives the satisfaction that each piece is hand-crafted and created with love and care.
What Options Exist in Choosing a Ravioli Stamp?
These boil down to size, shape and composition.
Size: Not much advice to dispense here. The cook will know the desired dimensions and a variety of sizes are readily available.
Shape: Square or circular are the classic ravioli shapes although, as alluded to earlier, there are also some novelty-shaped stamps available.
Composition: The classic stamp has a wooden handle attached to an iron/brass/metal fitment. Plastic stamps have become more popular, and they are easier to clean but, frankly, they don’t look as good.
Note that you can buy pasta or ravioli making kits available which will include stamps along with molds or attachments. These are good in terms of providing alternative ways of making ravioli.
Is There Anything Else to Know About How to Use a Ravioli Stamp?
Ravioli stamps are low maintenance – easily cleaned and minimalistic in terms of storage space. For a small outlay, you should be able to buy a stamp that will last for a long time and endure repeated usage with no slippage in performance. As with equipment or utensils used in making pasta, products made it Italy are sought after. It is the nation’s favorite food, after all, and there is loving detail applied to most things pasta-related.
Hopefully, the details above will provide the detail required to use a ravioli stamp. It does take longer to make ravioli with this method, but there is a connection with the ingredients which can’t be replicated by other means. Once you have used a ravioli stamp on a couple of occasions, the entire process should be mastered and not a lot can go wrong. Buon Appetito!