Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli…home made pasta, nothing quite like it!

There’s something really special about making your own pasta at home… the process itself is a lot of fun, and then the flexibility that comes with having fresh pasta sheets as a blank canvas to fill with whatever you want is pretty cool. Not to mention that it usually tastes far better than dry supermarket variety; and there’s a very nice sense of accomplishment that comes along with eating it.

The filling for this ravioli is pretty classical and straightforward, however, I pair it with a sauce I’ve refined over time, and I feel that together they make a winning combo. The dish can be served as either a first course or a main. It really is a knockout combo, the creamy sharpness of the wine and parmesan of the sauce are balanced by the richness of the filling, and all the way through, the spinach adds this freshness that really pleases the palate.

Sadly, I have no picture for this dish yet (last time I made it I cut the ravioli very badly, looked pretty un-charismatic) but since we do this dish at home fairly regularly, I’m sure I’ll be adding the pictures soon. Instead, after the jump is a picture of my wife and I at the fabulous taste of Dubai food festival that anyone who can should attend. We’re with (fairly famous) chef Aldo Zilli after chasing him to get my certificate for his class signed.

Poor guy had been on his feet all day cooking, only to get badgered by yours truly to get a signature on a silly certificate. Nice.

Makes about 25 ravioli

For the filling:

200g of ricotta cheese

250g of chopped baby spinach

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 large egg

2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tsp of lemon juice

2 tsp of melted butter

1 tbsp of chopped fresh basil leaves

Some olive oil

In a large pan on a medium high heat, pour a couple of lugs of olive oil, once the oil is hot, toss in the garlic, and saute for a couple of minutes until just about browned. Place the spinach in the oil and cook it through for just about 3-5mins until the spinach releases most of its moisture but does over cook. Remove the spinach off the heat, strain it and place it into a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix until everything is combined and uniform. Season with salt and pepper. Place the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour for the mixture to set.

For the sauce:

1 medium onion chopped roughly or 2 shallots

1 cup of chicken stock

1/2 cup of dry white wine

1/4 cup of cooking cream

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In  a small saucepan, heat the olive oil (high-ish heat), saute the onions for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the white wine and let reduce to about half the original volume, 7-10min, once reduced, add the stock and let the mixture simmer on a lower heat for about 10-12min. Once the sauce has reduced by about a third, add in the cream and the Parmesan, leave the sauce to simmer for about another 10mins until the consistency is nice and thick and the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon quite evenly. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pasta and to bring it all together, it’s pretty difficult to explain how to make the actual ravioli with just words, you’ll probably find this link useful:

You will need about 175g of fresh pasta rolled out into almost impossibly thin sheets. I’ll make a special fresh pasta post some day, as the process although simple, can involve different variables to make the end product more interesting. In the meantime, I’ve found this video here to be really useful.

Once your sheets are rolled out, cut in half. Using a teaspoon, delicately place single heaped spoon mounds of filling on one of the half-sheets. Keep the mounds about 3cm apart. Once you’re done with heaping the filling, using a brush, spread some egg white all around the fillings, this will act as a binder when you lay the other half sheet on top.

You’re now ready to bring the sheets together. Just lay the second half sheet over the original one, and using your fingers make sure to push out all air bubbles from around the filling mounds. Air bubbles will expand in the boiling water and burst the ravioli open. Once you have a sheet of ravioli ready, just cut into even squares using a knife.

Add the ravioli into a pot of fast boiling salted water. They should need no more than 2-3 minutes to cook, overcooking them will result in rubbery tough pasta; a good measure of when they’re ready is if the ravioli rise to the surface. Using a slotted spoon, plate your ravioli. Spoon the sauce over (I know it’s always pasta into sauce and not sauce onto pasta, but they’re so delicate I fear that placing them into the sauce and then plating the ravioli can risk overcooking and damaging them), sprinkle freshly grated parmesan to taste and garnish with chopped chives.

Enjoy! 🙂

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