Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli - A Tale of Homemade Pasta

The other night I made my own ravioli. It was incredible! I know it would be much easier to buy some ready made pasta but there are so many good things about making your own. You can put whatever you want into it, make sure you aren't getting any artificial ingredients you don't want, and it tastes like nothing else. After this run I finally decided that I need to get a pasta rolling attachment for my mixer. I like homemade pasta so much more than store bought and I have a feeling I'll be making it often enough to justify a new kitchen gadget (plus I really like getting new kitchen gadgets).

Below is the recipe I used. The sauce for this was the most amazing thing I've ever tasted. Even if you buy ravioli from the store you should try this sauce. It only took a few minutes to make.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli (Ravioli di Magro)

The Pasta:
3 large eggs (best if they are room temp)
2 1/2 c. flour

The Ravioli Filling:
3 Tbsp butter
6 oz fresh spinach leaves
1/2 c. fresh chopped basil
1 c. ricotta cheese
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg
salt & black pepper

The Sauce:
1/4 c. butter
1 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 shallot, finely diced

To make the pasta: I used a food processor which greatly reduced my time, but you can mix the dough by hand as well. Put flour and salt in food processor. Add 1 whole egg and pulse-blend until ingredients are mixed. Turn food processor on to full speed and add remaining eggs. Keep machine running just long enough to allow a dough to be formed. Turn dough onto clean work surface. Knead until dough becomes soft and glossy. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Split pasta into several small pieces and roll out one at a time. Make sure to keep extra dough covered with plastic wrap or it will get hard and flaky. Roll out into a rectangle as thin as you can, making sure that each new sheet is about the same thickness. After each sheet is rolled out, place under a damp cloth.
To make the filling: Melt butter in medium saucepan, add spinach and basil, salt & pepper and let cook on medium until most of the moister is gone. Place spinach in bowl and let cool. Add ricotta, parmesan, and nutmeg to taste (about 1/2 tsp for me). Mix well, then add egg and beat well.
To make the ravioli: Take a sheet of the pasta, and using a teaspoon, spoon on equal amounts evenly spaced near the top of the pasta sheet. With a pastry brush wet between the mounds, fold the pasta over, and pinch all the sides together, releasing any air inside and closing up the raviolis on all sides. Cut each away (I used a pizza cutter for this which worked well). Place the finished raviolis on cloth or paper towel dusted with flour. Once all the pasta are finished, place in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes to cook.
And now the sauce: Gently heat butter and shallot until shallot is slightly translucent. Add cream and Parmesan and let cook until the parmesan has melted. Increase heat and simmer for a minute or two until slightly reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste.
There you have it! Homemade pasta!

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