8/23/11

Spinach Ricotta Ravioli

A favorite of mine: an Italian hand cranked pasta machine

Spinach Ricotta Ravioli

3 eggs
2 3\4 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Filling:
2 tbsp butter
4 cups spinach cleaned and stems removed or 2 10 oz. frozen packs frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup ricotta cheese
1\2 cup Parmesan cheese

salt
pepper
egg

Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups half and half
3/4 grated Parmesan cheese
salt
pepper




Mix together the eggs, flour and salt to form a ball.  Use extra flour to dust the area you'll knead the dough on.  If you're rolling it out by hand knead for 10 minutes, a little less if you are using a hand crank pasta machine. Let the dough rest in plastic wrap for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, start to prepare the filling.  If using fresh spinach, chop and cook it in a pan with butter. Cook stirring occasionally until the water has cooked out of it (5-8mins). Put the spinach into a bowl and let it cool. If using frozen thawed spinach, microwave until heated through and drain again.

Cut the pasta dough in half, put one half back in the plastic wrap and start rolling out the other half. Roll The dough out until it's about 1/8 inch thick, the thinner the better. Cut the rolled out pasta into two 2 1/2 inch strips.   If using a hand crank pasta machine, start with #1 and work down to a #4 or #5 strip.  Cut the flat strips into two - 2 1/2 inch strips.

Mix the spinach with the other ingredients. Put small tablespoon scoops of filling on the strips about 2 inches apart. Take some water ,use your finger or a pastry brush and wet the edges of the strips plus in between each mound of filling.  Place one flat strip over the other and press the pasta together to form the ravioli. Try to make sure the air gets pushed out of each one and try not to get the filling in where the pasta should be pinched close(this can make it fall apart when it cooks). Cut the pasta into squares around each sealed filling and let them sit on floured dish clothes while you finish the other pasta.

Fresh pasta cooks quickly, you'll only need to cook the raviloi 5-8 minutes.  Put them in salted boiling water. 

Put the sauce ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil while stirring. Do this for about three minutes and you're ready to eat. Toss the sauce with the pasta and if you wish, sprinkle with a bit of parsley to garnish and serve. 
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