There is something about big food that is just so much fun. No one expects a supersize raviolo to be placed in front of them (and even fewer would expect the baby ravioli inside to come spilling out when you open it up). Deciding whether to refer to this dish in the singular or the plural was definitely something I hadn’t thought about until I started writing the recipe. Should it be Rainbow Ravioli (because there are four ravioli in total) or Rainbow Raviolo because the actual dish is a singular raviolo that has been stuffed? In the end, I have gone for a nice and complicated combination – the dish is Rainbow Ravioli but when referring to the pasta itself, I will use the singular unless of course I am talking about the mini ravioli inside, then I will use the plural as there are three of them. Does that make sense?
I created this recipe for my appearance on the cookery show Crazy Delicious – a brand new cookery show. It is quite exciting to be able to say that I cooked on TV and even more so that I was part of the inaugural season of a show. But if you want to know about that, I would recommend watching my video on the topic – it’s on both my YouTube and on IGTV so have a watch on whichever floats your boat (or both if you feel like giving a healthy boost to my ratings xoxo).
This is probably the best time to give you a bit of an insight into a few parts of this dish and some tips to avoid making the mistakes I made when I was recipe testing.
- Seal all of your ravioli with egg white. This is a general pasta tip. Egg white contains water (which helps gluten formation between the pasta sheets sticking them together) but also has a lot of proteins which will coagulate when cooked. This coagulation will help ensure that your pasta doesn’t split down the seams when you cook it.
- Overlap your colours slightly. This will prevent any sections of uncoloured pasta peeking through. I have done this where I just lined up my pasta colours and they all just spread out during the rolling so I ended up with alternating white and rainbow colours.
- Don’t overlap your colours too much. Any sections of colour which are overlapped will blend when you roll out the pasta. In most cases this will create a nice extra tone between your rainbow colours so the six colours you made will appear as many more in the blended sections. Primarily though, this is for the yellow which will not be able to hold its own against the green or orange beside it so the only way to guarantee a yellow stripe is to make sure that only the edges of this colour are overlapped.
- Cook the pasta in a large frying pan and drain it onto an oiled cooling rack. The frying pan is easiest to get the pasta into and out of for cooking. It is also flat enough that you can get a spatula underneath the pasta when it is cooking to prevent it sticking to the pan. The oiled cooling rack (I have a two direction wire one – see the video for reference) acts like a giant sieve or colander but because it is flat, it allows the weight of the raviolo to be spread evenly across its base which will help prevent splitting. The oil on the cooling rack will allow you to get the raviolo off it and onto a plate – slide it, for the love of god and all things holy, do not try and pick it up a this point, it will split and you will
Anyway, I am making this thing out to be far harder than it is. I promise that this dish isn’t too difficult and it can be done in only 90 minutes if you fancy a challenge! Let me know what you think in the comments and if you want to try this for yourself.
(If you would like a version of the video with speak where I will also talk about Crazy Delicious, check out my instagram
Giant Rainbow Ravioli
Time – 90 minutes (if you think you’re up to it but I would go for two hours to be on the safe side)
½ recipe bolognaise
10-15g dark chocolate
1 beef stock cube
Optional – 125ml red wine
1 ½ recipes of fresh pasta
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper
25g butter + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg white
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh sage leaves
Pinch of salt
Make your bolognaise. Stir in the dark chocolate and beef stock cube after the tomato passata is added but before you leave the bolognaise to simmer. Make sure to stir regularly to prevent the sauce catching on the bottom of the pan.
Once the bolognaise has been simmering for around 45 minutes and has thickened considerably, pour it onto a baking sheet, spread it out to increase the surface area and set aside to cool. If the sauce is still quite runny, let it boil uncovered to drive off some of the excess water.
While the bolognaise is cooking, make your pasta.
Finally, in a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg yolk, parmesan, nutmeg, garlic, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper until it is all homogenous. Set aside.
Take one third of the past dough. Set the rest aside (wrapped up to stop it drying out).
Divide the pasta into six roughly even pieces (it’s fine if they aren’t all exactly the same).
Knead in the food colouring. I would always do this from the lightest to darkest colours just in case you end up with a little cross contamination. My order is yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple.
Wrap the coloured dough and leave it to rest.
Make sure to wipe down your surface before the next step as you want to remove any traces of food colouring.
Set a pan of water on the stove and bring to the boil while you form the mini ravioli.
Take one third of the remaining plain dough and roll it out. This can be done by hand but I would recommend using a pasta machine if you have one. I have the Imperia Pasta Machine and roll to the thinnest setting (number six) for this but different machines might vary. I cannot find the thickness in mm online anywhere so you will have to use your own judgement of what is the right thickness…
Split the pasta in half widthwise and on one piece, use a two and half inch cutter to make three small indents in the pasta – these will mark out where your filling should go.
Put a tablespoon of ricotta in the centre of each circle.
Brush around each dollop of filling with egg white.
Gently lower the second pasta sheet over the first and press to seal around each of the ravioli trying to squeeze out as much air as possible. Use the cutter to stamp out the ravioli.
Use the excess pasta to make spare ricotta ravioli – I managed to get six out of the dough. You could also save this dough for later.
After stamping each raviolo out, transfer to a lightly floured wooden board.
Salt the pan of (now boiling) water and gently slide in the ravioli cooking them for three minutes.
Place the butter and olive oil into a bowl and add the ravioli the moment they are cooked and drained. Toss to coat the ravioli. This will stop them sticking together. Set them on a plate to cool.
Take the red pasta dough and roll it out through the thickest setting of the pasta machine. Fold it in half and repeat. Do this until you have a piece of dough just under an inch wide.
Reduce the thickness setting on the pasta machine and roll the dough through.
Repeat while reducing the thickenss settings. I took my coloured dough down to setting five (the second thinnest) and ended up with pieces around eight to nine inches long and one to one and a half inches wide.
Do this with all of the coloured doughs. Cover them and set aside.
Take around a quarter of the remaining plain dough and roll it out in the pasta machine. Keep folding and rolling until it is almost as wide as the pasta machine. Move the machine to the next thinness setting and roll again. Keep doing this until the pasta is as long as the coloured strands. I got to thickness setting three.
Lay the dough on the table and brush with egg white.
Lay the purple or red dough down the length of the pasta at the edge.
Brush egg white over one side of the blue dough and place it (egg side down) on top of the pasta, overlapping slightly with the purple dough. Repeat with the other colours until you have a rainbow across your pasta. Try not to fully overlap the yellow on both sides as overlapped colours will blend later and the yellow will be overpowered by the orange and green next to it.
Press down with a rolling pin to seal and then run this through the pasta machine on the thickest setting to ensure the colours are all stuck together.
Roll the final piece (of plain) dough out until it roughly the same shape as the rainbow dough.
Place the plain dough on a floured surface, generously flour the top and lay the rainbow dough over it. Hand roll out to increase the width of the pasta sheets. You need to hand roll them as any seams from connecting two pieces of dough side by side will split during cooking. Keep peeling apart the sheets to insure they are not sticking and flour as needed.
Once your dough is large enough to make the giant raviolo (mine was around ten inches in diameter) peel the sheets apart and set the coloured one off to one side.
Place a bowl (or whatever you are using to map out your giant raviolo) on the dough to mark the edges out (do not cut anything yet).
Put the mini ravioli in the centre of the giant raviolo and pack them in with bolognaise sauce until you have a dome around an inch to an inch and a half high and at least an inch around the edge of the dome to the edge of the raviolo.
Brush around the bolognaise with egg white and gently lay the coloured sheet over the top. Smooth it down across the top and sides of the raviolo pressing out any air. Press with your hand to seal and then cut out the raviolo. Use a rolling pin to seal even more by rolling the edges out slightly to get them to the same thickness as the rest of the pasta. Re-trim off the excess.
Use a palate knife to ensure that the raviolo is not stuck to the surface and gently slide it onto a floured board.
Bring a large frying pan of salted water to a rolling boil and add a little oil.
Carefully slide the giant raviolo into the water. The colours should brighten immediately as the excess flour is washed away.
Use a spatula to gently reach under the pasta and lift it up to make sure it does not stick to the pan. If that happens, there is very little you can do to rectify it so make sure to get under the raviolo asap to prevent this. After around thirty seconds, especially once the water is boiling again, the outside of the pasta should have cooked and you can cook the raviolo for another three or four minutes to finish cooking the pasta and heating the filling through.
While the raviolo is cooking, melt some butter with a little olive oil in a pan. Once it starts to foam, add some fresh sage leaves and a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat.
Drain the raviolo onto a large, oiled, cooling rack (one that you would use for cakes). Dab off any puddles of water that might be stuck in divots and then slide the pasta onto a warmed serving dish.
Brush with sage butter and serve.