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In a couple of weeks I am catering a private dinner for a work relation. I will be prepping everything in my home kitchen and finishing off in their kitchen, meaning I want to get every dish as close to finished as possible before transporting it.

One of the dishes I intend to serve is ravioli stuffed with cheese, herbs and eggyolks. I am unsure about the ideal stage at which to finish my home prep. Would you:

  1. Prepare the pasta dough and transport it wrapped in clingfilm to be rolled out on site?
  2. Roll out the pasta dough and cut it to size, leaving only the adding of the filling to be done on site?
  3. Prepare them fully and transport them with the filling already inside?

Option 1 means I have way more work to do on site than I think is ideal.

Option 2 seems like asking for trouble in the sense of the pasta drying out and making the ravioli leaky.

Option 3 might make ravioli stick together, burst or any number of other disasters.

What would you do and why? Feel free to include your tips on how to protect the semi finished products during transportation.

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    I don't know about the effect on the specific filling, but the guy I know who sells homemade ravioli at the farmer's market freezes them fully prepared and transports/sells them frozen. – Ecnerwal Apr 4 '15 at 18:03
  • How many people are you cooking for? What works for 4-8 people might not scale up for 100. – Joe Apr 5 '15 at 12:44
  • Have not heard yet exactly how many, but no more than a family. I'm assuming 8 to 12 people in total for now. – Richard ten Brink Apr 5 '15 at 18:58
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I've done option 3 for a christmas dinner party, even with the egg-yolk trick. In one night I learned both that it can be done, and also that it can be a complete disaster.

I made three large pieces of ravioli per person, each with a different filling. I was most worried about the yolks breaking during transport, so I those in a separate tupperware box, very carefully with lots of flour. The rest I put in another box more haphazardly with less flour.

The egg ones were fine: out of 15, only 2 failed, which allowed me to serve everybody one piece at least. The others had completely stuck together and could only be turned into a weird mash in a frying pan.

So the trick is to package them properly: Give them a liberal dusting, do not let them rest on top of each other, and keep them from touching in general. Non-airtight containers may be better, since it stops the pasta from sweating. You might even consider creating a small cardboard partition inside the box to keep them from touching.

Plan to lose 10% to 20%, and do a small test ahead of time, and you should be fine.

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Ravioli and all fresh pasta for that matter work really well frozen. you just need to keep an eye on the cooking time as it will obviously be different. when i go to Vialeggio i always fill up of ravioli and tortellini, freeze and use over many months with great results. http://www.gardalake.com/place/valeggio-sul-mincio/

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Option 3 cooked 3/4 of the way is your best bet. When you drain the ravioli, coat with your oil of choice so they don't stick together. I would choose olive oil.

Then when onsite you can Blanche them to finish cooking them, and serve them fresh out of the pot.

Alternatively, if you are using a steam tray, cook them fully and coat with oil, put into your half pan or whatever and then reheat them in the steam table covered with foil to keep the moisture in.

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The drying rack is very useful, and for consumption within 12-24h you could actually just store them in a cold and dry place.

Alternatively, the freezing option is the best you've got: let them dry out placing them so that they don't touch each other, then place in the freezer. You can then cook them throwing them directly into boiling water.

A few more notes:

  • consumption is always meant shortly after cooking
  • if you don't have time for drying before freezing, or you're afraid they will stick to each other in the freezer, separate them with baking paper (not plastic film)
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  1. Don't use a filling that is too wet (egg yolk is ok, just don't use them on their own)

  2. If you only use flour they will break easily; it's better to use a mix of flour and semolina. I use 2 parts of semolina for one part of flour, and no olive oil (or they will not dry properly)

  3. Get a pasta drying rack (Google "eppicotispai"), dry them partially, and put some flour, or better, semolina on them (it's less sticky)

  4. I use boxes with plastic baskets inside, meant to keep vegetables fresh in the refrigerator. I transport ravioli weekly in these boxes, on my e-bike, through the forest, with no problem at all.

Don't pre-cook them, and don't refrigerate them.

If you go to visit friends who will actually enjoy seeing you making them, then use option 2. If the weather allows it (under 15 degrees celcius or so), cut the pasta squares to circles, put some semolina on them (not too much or you will have trouble closing the ravioli), then make a pile; at worst, the outer two will be too dry to use.

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