I may not have a drop of actual Italian blood in my body, but I often feel like I’m an honorary Italian because I love their food so much.

To wit, is there really anything better than pillow-y ravioli filled (and topped) with something delicious? I’d be hard-pressed to dream up a tastier lunch than the one I just had with my friend Krista (this collage is her handiwork, by the way) at Sur La Table last Friday.

Yes, we got in touch with our inner Italian grandmothers and made homemade ravioli. I’ve made fresh pasta a handful of times in the past, and yet, I’m always surprised that something so mouthwatering only requires three ingredients—flour, water and eggs. Or wait, make that four since it takes quite a bit of muscle for the finished product, too. See, you get a pretty fabulous arm workout because you get to knead the dough for a good, long while before running it through the pasta machine. It also makes you feel a wee bit less guilty when you indulge later.

After patiently turning out our pasta sheets, the real fun began when we started shaping the ravioli. While I tried the square ravioli maker (the silver, ice cube tray-esque tool pictured), I was an even bigger fan of the far more forgiving round ravioli stamp because the pasta didn’t stick so much. Unearthing the ravioli from the tray was a bit more challenging, even with a good amount of flour involved, but thankfully none of them broke in the process or exploded in the boiling water later on (whew!).

As for the fillings and sauces, one batch of ravioli was filled with Swiss chard and ricotta and tossed around in a brown butter lemon sauce (absolutely heavenly!). Another was filled with smoked salmon and herbs, and while I was sure I wasn’t going to like it (I’m SO not a salmon girl), it was surprisingly tasty with vodka tomato cream sauce. The last variety was a bit spicy with sausage and a chunky red sauce that had a bit of red pepper. Mmmm.

As you probably gathered, making ravioli was more satisfying research for my novel, which by the way, I’ve recently re-titled The Honorary Italians. My brilliant hubby was brainstorming with me one afternoon because I wasn’t really feeling my working title (hence why it remained a working title), and I came up with the idea that stuck. 🙂 LOVE that.