October 27, 2010

Homemade Ravioli: Worth the Effort!

Homemade ravioli tastes like the love it takes to make them. Supple, fresh sheets of pasta dough envelop a rich, savory filling of ricotta, spinach, and feta. Topped with a simple butter, sage, and toasted walnut sauce, the delightful flavors of the ravioli really shine through on their own.

C and I rolled the pasta dough by hand -- my arms got a serious workout as I worked two sheets of dough across my marble kitchen counter until it was almost transparent. Dollops of filling were dropped across the bottom layer of thin, delicate pasta, then covered with the top sheet and pressed into ravioli rounds. 

The entire process, which was slowed by it being our first time, took less than two hours. I would make these again in a heartbeat. The difference in freshness and quality that came from making the ravioli by hand made every bite worthy of an "Mmmm!"  I'd also imagine that enjoying the outcome with a friend made everything taste even more wonderful, too. Feel free to play with the fillings, using whatever favorite ingredients you choose, from pumpkin to ground beef, but whatever you do, have fun... and make extra. You'll want them!

Traditional Egg Pasta Dough: from Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything'
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 t. salt
3 eggs
a few drops of water if needed

In a food processor, combine the flour and salt in the bowl and pulse once or twice. Add the eggs all at once and turn on the machine. Process until a ball begins to form (30 seconds), adding a few drops of water if the dough is dry or a few t. of flour if it is sticking to the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a dry, lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth (1-2 minutes). Add water if too dry, flour iff too sticky. It should be easy to work. Cut the dough into two even pieces, wrapping one in plastic to keep from drying out while you roll the other. Roll the dough out with a pin until it is as thin as possible, then fill as directed below.

Ricotta, Spinach and Feta Filling:
10 oz. spinach, sauteed for a few minutes, then cooled and chopped finely
1 egg
1 cup ricotta, drained for a few minutes in a fine strainer
1 cup fresh feta cheese, crumbled
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg

Directions: Combine the ingredients in a bowl, then place small spoonfuls of filling about 1" apart across the fresh pasta dough sheet. Brush with water between the filling so that the dough layers will stick, then cover with another piece of dough of equal size and press down to seal between the ravioli. Cut each ravioli with a paring knife and ensure that the ends are all sealed tightly. Boil the ravioli in small batches to keep them from sticking to each other in a large pot of salted water for 6 minutes a batch. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven between batches. Toss with butter sauce, below.

Walnut & Butter Sauce: Toast 1 cup of chopped walnuts in a pan, then add 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Stir in 1 T. dried or fresh sage, then season with salt and pepper. Pour over the ravioli and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that looks wonderful. I am bookmarking this recipe!



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