Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

ravioli2I am not ready for summer to be over. I need at least another month of barbecues, sunshine and denial, meaning I am now desperately grasping at every last inch of summer I can get my hands on. This, of course, runs to food but I can’t quite bring myself to make a salad when outside the window monsoon season rages. Some dishes though, like heady saffron rich paellas or luxurious bowls of linguine frutti di mare, cannot fail to comfort and bring back memories of holiday bliss. Unfortunately though, unless you are a millionaire, they are somewhat decadent for a wednesday night.

ravioli1This spinach ravioli on the other hand costs almost nothing to make and is just light enough to feel summery and exotic whilst being sufficiently warming and comforting to combat the chill of September. Making homemade pasta may seem a complete faff but hopefully my guide below will simplify it a bit. Having said that, if you don’t have a pasta machine don’t bother. Hand rolling pasta is best left to formidable Italian grandmothers and professional chefs.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli (Serves 4)

For the pasta:

  • 3 eggs
  • 300g of pasta (‘oo’) flour
  • Semolia

For the Filling and sauce:

  • 1 tub of ricotta (250g)
  • 250g of spinach
  • nutmeg
  • 50g of butter
  • a handful of sage leaves

How to Make it…

  • To make the pasta measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl or preferably a large serving dish. This might sound weird but I found that doing it on a flat surface makes a complete mess as the egg runs everywhere. By doing it in a large dish you get the same effect but the egg is contained.
  • Whisk the eggs. Make a well in the flour and pour in the eggs a little at a time, slowly incorporating the flour into the eggs using a fork. At some point the whole thing will collapse but this is fine just bind as much of the mixture together as you can.
  • On a lightly floured service knead the dough. It may need a fair bit of work but after a good five to ten minutes it should form a nice smooth, flexible dough.
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and leave for around half an hour in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • Wilt the spinach with a little water and drain. Finely chop it and stir through the ricotta. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper and a good grate of nutmeg.
  • Now your pasta is ready to roll out. Separate your dough into four segments. Begin each segment by flattening it slightly with your hands and pass it through the widest setting on the pasta machine. Pass it through again on the same setting before moving onto the next. It should pass through each setting twice and when your finished should be thin enough to see your hand through.
  • Place each sheet on a surface sprinkled with semolina before you move onto the next as this will stop it sticking. Once all your pasta is rolled, take your cutter and lightly press it all the way along two of the sheets as a guide. Now place a teaspoon of filling into the middle of each one of the rounds made by your cutter. Place the two remaining sheets on top. Press around each ball of filling to remove any air and cut out the ravioli. Pinch the edges of ravioli slightly to ensure the filling will not escape and place to one side on a surface thoroughly dusted with semolina.
  • From here the pasta can be cooked immediately or left for up to two hours. This recipe is for four portions as making pasta for one is slightly too much effort but luckily these little parcels can be frozen for later, at this stage.
  • The pasta should only take a couple of minutes to cook Tip them into a large pot of boiling water and quickly get on with your sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the sage leaves to fry. Once the pasta is done, drain it and stir through the sauce. Serve topped with more sage leaves and lots of parmesan.
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