Whole Wheat Pea and Mushroom Ravioli (Recipe)
The first time I made pasta, it seemed too easy. The flour and eggs combined smoothly to make a uniform, creamy yellow canvas. The dough slid effortlessly through the pasta machine, each time a little thinner, until I had several immaculate sheets waiting patiently under a kitchen towel. This time around, I wanted to up the health factor a bit, so I substituted whole wheat flour for half of the white. I should’ve known it’d put up a fight.
Healthy choices usually do.
I made my usual flour hill, forming a well in the center for the eggs. I thought about mixing the eggs in a bowl before adding them to the flour, but it made for a prettier picture to have the yolks intact.
The things we do in the name of Art.
Within a few moments, I had egg yolks slipping through my fingers and sliding threateningly close to the edge of my chopping block.
I eventually managed to combine the ingredients, but the dough wasn’t smooth like last time. I could feel the grit of the whole wheat flour as I worked the dough with my fingers. Instead of buttery-yellow, I had a mass of brownish, bulky dough to work with.
I soldiered on in the name of experimentation and let the dough rest while I prepared the filling.
Now that went exactly as I had imagined it. Smoky bacon, sharp garlic, peppery shallots, fresh peas and mushrooms and creamy goat cheese made for a filling that tasted so fantastic, I “tested” it a few more times than necessary.
I do these things for you. Really I do.
It came time to roll out the dough. I set my pasta machine to the thickest setting. I prepared myself to collect the pasta as it rolled easily through the mechanism.
Whole wheat dough, I discovered, was a bit trickier to work with than all-white dough. Kinda like any other healthy choice. It took extra patience. And planning. And care.
I had to make sure the rectangles of dough weren’t too large; if they were, the dough broke apart and made uneven, wrinkled sheets. I had to make sure that the dough was well-floured before I sent it through the machine, or it would bunch up in one corner or another, making a squiggly sheet — not so hot when you’re trying to make stuffed pasta. When it came time to fold the dough over the dollops of filling, it wasn’t as malleable as an all-white dough. I had to be gentler with it, more forgiving.
A lot of patience. A lot of mistakes. A lot of frustration. A lot of do-overs. A lot of learning. And, in the end, a lot of fun. And a lot of pride when I got to enjoy the savory fruit of my labors.
The ultimate payoff of a healthy goal: A job well done, even if it was — especially since it was — more challenging than I thought it would be.