Fresh Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

After 6 LONG days in a row at work, today was the start of my weekend (two days late) and what better way to spend it than eating delicious food! I was looking to make some fresh pasta and had some ricotta and spinach in the fridge so that is what I googled! I came across this great recipe by Food Nouveau http://foodnouveau.com/2011/04/20/recipes/making-fresh-homemade-pasta-spicy-spinach-ricotta-ravioli-with-light-tomato-sauce/, and I am so glad I made it because it was healthy, delicious and really fun to make. It did take a while, probably about 2 hours in total including the rest time for the pasta, but it was definitely worth it!

Hopefully you will be able to make it on your weekend, whatever day of the week that may be!

 

Fresh Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Light Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

Makes about 32 ravioli, enough for 4 to 6 servings.

Pasta

Sea salt

150g baby spinach

1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

1 large egg

Filling

300g fresh ricotta cheese

50g prosciutto, finely diced

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

1 small hot red chilli, very finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Sauce

10 large ripe vine tomatoes

6 garlic cloves, finely minced

3tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp sea salt

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

Freshly ground black pepper

Shaved parmesan cheese to serve

Method:

To make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add baby spinach and cook until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve and run under cold water to cool. Squeeze water from spinach just until damp and then finely chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and pinch salt. Mound flour mixture and form a well in the centre. Add spinach and egg to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolk and slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed, then knead in bowl until dough forms a complete mass. It will still look floury and the vibrant green color of spinach will not come through yet. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes more, sprinkling more flour as the dough becomes sticky again.

Once you’re done kneading, wrap the dough tightly in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes, or for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. The resting period is really important so don’t skip it!

To roll the pasta: Divide pasta dough into 4 pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap (as it dries out very quickly). Flatten dough so that it will fit through the rollers of a hand-cranked pasta machine set at the widest setting. Feed the pasta into the machine at this setting for 3 to 4 times, folding, flouring the exterior and turning pasta until it’s smooth. Keep on rolling pasta through machine, decreasing the setting one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta) until pasta sheet is about 2mm thick, for me this is setting number 4.

Flour both sides of rolled pasta sheet and cut out 7cm pasta rounds (I used a scone cutter). Make sure each round is well floured and keep flat on a plate covered with plastic wrap while you roll out the next 3 pasta sheets.

Note: After cutting out rounds in a pasta sheet, you’ll be left with quite a lot of trimming. Brush off excess flour, knead it back together in your hands (like a ball of play-dough), then flatten it and put it back in the pasta-rolling machine, rolling it just once per notch, until you’ve reached the desired thickness again. You’ll be able to cut out at least 4-5 more rounds from this smaller sheet.

Keep your pasta rounds well floured, tightly covered in plastic wrap while you quickly mix the filling together.

To make the filling: Mix everything together.

To make the ravioli: Cover two baking sheets with baking paper.

Place 1 heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of a pasta round. Pick up the pasta round in one hand, and wet its edges with cold water using one finger or a pastry brush (careful not to wet with too much water). Cover with a second round, pressing edges to seal, making sure no air bubble remains inside. Repeat for all ravioli. Keep ravioli flat on a baking sheet, making sure they don’t overlap. Cover with plastic wrap.

To make the sauce: Dice the tomatoes and finely chop the spring onion. In a large pan over medium heat, fry the garlic in 3tbs of the olive oil for a minute or two until cooked, but not yet coloured. Add the red pepper flakes followed by the diced tomato, spring onion and salt. Allow the tomatoes to slowly simmer and soften until they form a sauce. Add the chopped basil, several cranks of black pepper  to finish. Heat back up, then take it off the heat and reserve until ready to serve.

Putting it all together: Bring a large pot of salted water to a low boil; avoid a rolling boil, which may cause the pasta to open up. Gently reheat the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally. Warm up serving bowls in the oven.

In batches of 12 to 14, cook ravioli in the boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to serving bowls. Spoon sauce over ravioli, garnish with shaved parmesan and serve immediately.

Because there is only Craig and I , I just used half of the pasta for the ravioli and then made the rest of it into fettuccine with the pasta cutter. I’m going to freeze the pasta for later in the week! However, if you want to freeze any ravioli or just the pasta itself, cut it how ever you want it and place it in a zip lock bag in the freezer. It will last for a few months.


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