Monday, July 16, 2012

Homemade Spinach and Cheese Ravioli

Over the weekend, we decided to make homemade pasta again - this time, spinach and cheese ravioli!  The mix isn't terribly different than what we used in the Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Jumbo Shells that I posted not too long ago, just in the form of ravioli!
The last time we made ravioli, we did it "free form" and used a ravioli cutter to do the work.  Something that looks like this:

This time, we tried a ravioli tray and quite honestly, we preferred doing it free form!  Here's a picture of our pasta roller along with the tray:

The pasta wasn't always wide enough to go over all three rows of the tray and so sometimes we only made two rows at a time.  It's quite possible that I was going something wrong, but the hubby and I both agreed our free form style was much easier!  You can also buy a ravioli stamp, I have not used one of these, but they look like this:

The recipe for the Fresh Pasta Dough below is courtesy of Sur La Table from the cooking class I took there in May.  I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked while rolling out the pasta, but you can see pictures of the dough rolling process in the cooking class post, I hope to get more photos of the process the next time we make fresh pasta.  The instructions below walk you through making the ravioli using a tray.  Give the dish a try and let me know what you think!

Fresh Pasta Dough
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Sur La Table

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Make a "well" in the center of the flour mixture and add eggs and oil, if using.  Bear in mind that you can do this on your countertop - without using a bowl.  I am still working on keeping 4 eggs in a well of flour, so used a bowl this time!  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 sticking, adding small amounts of flour as needed, about 5 to 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.  This is a good time to make your filling for the ravioli. 

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 the 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 with the other.  Take the dough and fold into thirds towards the center of the dough.  Turn the dough so the open end faces the machine and roll it through on the widest setting again.  Fold, turn, and roll once more on the widest setting.  Continue rolling the pasta through machine without folding, adjusting the rollers to the next -smallest setting each time, until desired thickness is reached.  If the pasta sheet becomes too large to handle, use the bench scraper to cut it into more manageable lengths. 

Ravioli Filling
Serves 4
8 oz ricotta cheese (I used low fat)
8 oz cottage cheese (I used fat free)
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon Melting Pot seasoning
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 cup spinach, chopped

Egg wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon of water

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Remember to taste as you go and adjust seasonings to make you happy!

Once your pasta sheets are done, flour your tray and lay the first sheet in the tray, pressing down slightly to make space for the filling.  Brush some of your egg wash on the top of the first sheet to create a "glue".  Use a melon scoop to measure even amounts of filling for each ravioli. 

Next, add your other pasta sheet to the top.  Use the rolling pin (they generally are sold with the tray) to seal the ravioli and cut the edges. 

Turn your ravioli out and put in a large sheet pan, toss with flour. 

These will cook very quickly.  Add them to a large pot of heavily salted boiling water.  Once they are floating to the top, they are done.  Some of mine broke, which was OK, the spinach made somewhat of a garnish on the ravioli! 

I made a quick sauce with some butter, minced garlic, pepper, grated Parmesan, chicken broth and wine that I reduced.  Then I added the ravioli straight from the pot to the sauce pan - make sure you add some of the pasta water to help thicken the sauce.   This was how the boys ate it.  The hubby and I added a marinara (store bought, and I'm OK with that!) - top off with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and you are set!

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