October 17, 2012

Classic Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

Recipe from Sur la Table cooking class. In Italy, this ravioli dish is commonly served on Christmas Eve. You can choose to spice up the tomato sauce with the addition of meats, such as Pancetta or Salami, or change the sauce to a brown-butter sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

  • 5 oz. Fresh Spinach
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 oz. Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. Basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg, freshly grated (*this is important, but don't overdue)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
~1 recipe Basic Tomato Sauce (below)
~1 recipe Basic Pasta Dough

DIRECTIONS: To Make Ravioli Filling:
  1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the spinach with salt until tender (about 2 minutes). Remove the spinach from the boiling water and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and roughly chop.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mozzarella, ricotta, basil, nutmeg, spinach, salt and pepper.
  3. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
DIRECTIONS: To Make the Ravioli:
  1. Roll out the ravioli to desired thickness. Lay one pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface and lightly brush with water.
  2. Place 2 tsp. of filling in the upper left-hand corner of the sheet, and repeat with 3 more portions, forming a grid of 4, each portion about an inch form the edge of the sheet and spaced about two inches apart from each other.
  3. Lay another sheet of pasta on top of the filling portions, and press down around the filling to press out any air and push the sheets together.
  4. Using a crimped pasta cutter or knife, trim the border of the dough and then cut a cross in between the mounds to create 4 ravioli. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets and filling.
DIRECTIONS: To Cook Ravioli:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook until al dente and the filling is heated through (about 4 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, remove the pasta from the water and transfer to serving bowls.
  2. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top of each and serve.

Basic Tomato Sauce Recipe:

Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-oz.) can plum tomatoes, drained and juiced reserved
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup water
  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add the EVOO. When the oil is warm add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft (about 7 minutes).
  2. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into the pan and cook until slightly dry (about 5 minutes). Add the reserved tomato juice, basil, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Stir in ¾ cup water and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and sugar.
~Can also add whatever you would like to the sauce- thyme, garlic, tomato paste, wine, etc.

Basic Pasta Dough

Yield: 4 servings

  • 2½ cups (12 oz.) all-purpose flour or "00" flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO (optional)
  1. Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl (or food processor) and whisk to combine. Make a "well" in the center of the flour mixture and add eggs and oil. Using your fingers, blend the eggs into the flour mixture, stirring the flour in from the sides of the well and working outwards. When the pasta dough is thoroughly mixed, turn it out on a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough until it is smooth and flexible but not sticky, adding small amounts of flour as needed (about 5-10 minutes). Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Cover in plastic wrap and allow dough to rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. To roll dough, secure a pasta machine to the edge of a long countertop. Using a bench scraper, cut dough into thirds. Keep extra dough covered in plastic while working with one piece. Flatten the piece of dough into a rough square that will fit inside the width of the pasta machine. Place the rollers on the widest setting and roll the dough through the machine, catching it with one hand as you roll it with the other. Take the dough and fold into thirds toward the center of the dough. Turn the dough so one open end faces the machine and roll it through the widest setting again. Fold, turn, and roll once more on the widest setting. Continue rolling the pasta through the machine without folding, adjusting the rollers to the next smallest setting each time (*flour each time too!) until the desired thickness is reached. (*A good ravioli should be at at #7.) If the pasta sheets become too large to handle, use a bench scraper and cut it into more manageable lengths and continue rolling until pasta is less than 1/16-inch thick.
  3. Place pasta sheets on a lightly floured work surface. Place tablespoons of filling in rows down the length of the pasta sheet, leaving at least 2 inches of space around each tablespoon of filling. Using a pastry brush, moisten the surface of the pasta around the filling with water. Place a similarly sized pasta sheet on top of the filling, gently pressing to seal the pasta around the filling without creating air pockets inside the ravioli. Cut the ravioli using a ravioli stamp. Place the ravioli on a rimmed baking sheet lightly coated with flour. Dust the tops of the ravioli with flour and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. The filled ravioli can be cooked immediately or covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 hour before cooking.
  4. To cook ravioli, heat large pot over high heat until boiling. Add enough kosher salt to season the water like sea water. While salted water boils vigorously, add ravioli and stir immediately to prevent them from sticking. Boil until ravioli are al dente (about 4-5 minutes). Reserve about a half cup of pasta water and drain ravioli through a colander. Alternately, remove the cooked ravioli with a slotted spoon and reheat water to boiling before cooking another batch.
  5. Toss hot ravioli with your sauce of choice, using the reserved pasta water to thin the mixture as needed.  Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
Whew that was a long post! Enjoy :)

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