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A ravioli form tray, also referred to as a ravioli maker, is used to make fresh ravioli pasta. The use of a ravioli form tray allows a large quantity of fresh pasta to be made quickly and easily, as compared to the way it was traditionally made.
Ravioli are stuffed squares or pockets of pasta. It is said to have been invented by Italian sailors who didn’t want to waste food while they were away at sea. Instead of throwing away leftovers, they ground them up and stuffed them into squares of pasta.
Ravioli squares are generally 1 to 2 inch (about 2.5 to 5 cm) squares. They rarely exceed 3 inches (about 7.6 cm) in overall size. Ravioletti, on the other hand, is a miniature version of ravioli and is generally less than 1 inch (about 2.5cm) in size.
Most often, ravioli is filled with a savory ricotta cheese mixture. Meat and vegetable mixtures can also be used. A dessert ravioli can also be made with a sweet cheese or fruit filling.
Without a ravioli form tray, the process of making ravioli can be quite labor intensive. Fresh, thin sheets of pasta have to be rolled out and cut into exact sizes, with an even amount of pieces being cut, as each ravioli needs to have a top and a bottom. Then, the pieces have to be filled and carefully sealed. If the ravioli are not tightly sealed they will leak as they are cooking.
The ravioli form tray has two parts — the form and the tray. The form is rectangular in shape with cutouts for each ravioli. The tray has perforated edges which will press out the pasta shapes when pressure is applied. Most often this pressure is applied by gently gliding a rolling pin across the top of the form. The pressure from the rolling pin ensures a tight seal on the ravioli's edges.
To make ravioli with a ravioli form tray, you need several key ingredients. First, you need fresh sheets of pasta. Fresh pasta dough is usually made by combining flour, eggs, salt and olive oil. The dough is rolled out using a pasta maker, which stretches the dough into long thin sheets. In addition, to the fresh pasta you will need a filling for the ravioli.
Traditionally, the filling for ravioli consists of ricotta cheese, eggs, seasonings, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. If a meat filling is desired, a variety of meats will work well, including ground sausage, ground beef or finely chopped chicken. Sweet fillings generally use ricotta cheese, sugar and fruit.
To make ravioli using the a ravioli form tray, a fresh sheet of pasta is placed over the form. Some form trays come with an second tray that when gently pressed into the pasta makes the depressions. Otherwise, you may use your fingers to make a small well in the center of the pasta.
The filling is placed into these wells, usually just about a teaspoon (about 5 ml) full of filling into each well. After the filling is inserted, a second sheet of pasta is placed over the top of the filling. A rolling pin is then rolled over the top layer of pasta.
The pressure from the rolling pin presses the pasta together sealing the edges. The perforated edges of the tray then cut the pasta into separate pieces of ravioli. The ravioli is left out for about 1 hour to dry and then cooked, for about seven to eight minutes, and served, often with a red or white pasta sauce.
You can also use a Ravioli Rolling Pin, or the Ravioli Stamps. I don't think either are quite as easy but they are a bit cheaper to buy.
The stamps you have to do one ravioli at a time, which can be fun if you're making it a family event.
The form trays make it easy to do multiple ravioli's, I've seen 12 at a time all the way to 36. They even make forms to do the Ravioletti. You can find them in square and circle form.
Personally the only benefit I can think of to use the Ravioli Rolling Pin, would be if you had a large and long table/counter top and needed mass amounts of ravioli completed in one fell swoop.
Form Tray is the best bet!