Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ravioli (ricotta and spinach)

I typed this earlier this week, and then cringed when Michael Ruhlman posted a ravioli recipe the next day.  Then I realised two important things: 1) His recipe is completely different to mine, and quite specific (I have to try this) and 2) I am in no way competing with Michael Ruhlman. I have three readers.  (And 51 robots.)

I'm on a bit of a pasta kick this week: after figuring out how to make ravioli, I remembered how easy and delicious pasta is, and made fettucine two nights in a row.  If you haven't made your own pasta yet, you should apply yourself more.  It really is a lot easier than it looks.  I've made it twice this week on work nights.  Seriously.
Ravioli, though is a weekend job.  It needs a little more time and patience than I have most weeknights, but is totally worth it.

First, a warning: I purchased a ravioli pan because it looked like fun, and it seemed to be the kind of thing that would make this a lot easier.  This was not the case.  Even the tiniest quantity of filling squished into the next hole, and the pasta didn't seal well.  The edges weren't sharp enough to cut through the pasta, and basically the whole thing was a mess.  If you don't believe me, please keep an eye on Trade Me.  I'll be listing my new, barely used ravioli pan for sale soon.
The reality is, you don't need extra attachments or toys.  You can make ravioli with basic pasta sheets from your pasta machine, a teaspoon, and a sharp knife.  And it's easier than you think.

The following quantities are for 4 hungry people.

For the filling:
200g fresh ricotta
200g frozen spinach, defrosted, water squeezed out, and finely chopped (I threw mine in a food processor for a few seconds)
100g grated parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp crushed garlic

Mix the filling in a bowl with a spoon. Cover and refrigerate.

Make pasta sheets, using the basic pasta recipe here, with 200g flour and 2 eggs.  Don't cut the sheets.  Obviously.
Lay a rolled pasta sheet on a floured benchtop, and brush the top side with milk.

Then, starting at the half-way mark (for reasons which will become obvious), dot filling at even intervals.

Keep going til you reach the end.  Make 'em as big or as small as you like - you're in charge.  When you reach the end, pick up the non-spinach end, and fold over the spinach half.

Fold carefully: you don't want to squish the filling, because you need pasta on pasta to get a good seal around the edges.  If spinach gets squished in the gaps, the ravioli can open when you boil them, and you just wasted a bunch of time making filling.
Gently press between the squares, and try to remove any excess air as you go.
Use a small rolling pin (this is a cute miniature one, about 25cm long) to form a better seal in between:

Then, simply cut into individual pieces.  You could use a knife, a ravioli wheel, or a small biscuit cutter like me:

Resist the urge to stack these: they stick even with flour or baking paper in between, and your efforts are wasted.

Throw into lots of salted, boiling water for 5 minutes.  Serve with a simple sauce: melted butter with sage and a pinch of nutmeg seems to be the agreed standard online, and it certainly won me over.  Good pasta doesn't need big, heavy sauces.

I served with seared salmon fillet.  And it was pretty darned awesome if I do say so myself.



    And yes, that deserved capslock. Yum!!

  2. PLEASE BUY A GOOD ONE. And yes, that needed CapsLock too. By good, I mean Italian. Preferably Imperia.

    And if you buy Imperia and it comes with an extra stainless steel plate, and you figure out what it's for - please let me know! I've tried and tried and can't figure it out. And it can't be that important, 'cause my pasta turns out just fine! Everything else about my Imperia is perfect though. And sooo easy.

  3. Mmmm definitely second the need for a GOOD quality machine. I got one for my 21st and after a couple of years intermittent use the gears slowly gave up. I suspect I'd make pasta more often if the machine worked slightly better!

    Nice variation on this is to add pureed spinach in place of one of the eggs for green pasta.

  4. Anybody..... dairy free filling?

  5. Kerryn, there's a filling I've been dreaming about for some time.. am on a mission, and will get it posted for you ASAP.
    Meg, thanks for the reminder - I've been meaning to try that!

  6. I challenge you to blend mine and Meg's suggestions into "super nutritious dairy free raviloi".....