I set Hubby the challenge of making fresh ravioli using our ‘Ask Italian Cookbook’, mainly because he really enjoys cooking Italian dishes. The recipe that we chose for the challenge was ‘Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli’, a classic filling for ravioli. Accompanying the dish would be a sauce made from peas and crème fraiche.
We were sent some pasta flour from the local supermarket and read the instructions, which also requires the addition of 3 eggs, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and salt/pepper. We mixed 250g of pasta flour with all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, however, you may wish to make the job easier by using a food processor. You know you’ve done it right when have a ball of firm dough that is firm but has a slight sticky texture. If it’s too moist just add more flour but if it’s too dry you can another egg or more olive oil. Once we were happy with the consistency, all that we had to do was leave the dough for 15 mins.
With the pasta to one side, Hubby found it best to make a start on the spinach and ricotta filing. All you need is the following:
45 ml of extra virgin olive oil
100g of baby spinach
180g of ricotta
80g of Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
dried ground marjoram
freshley ground nutmeg
30g of white breadcrumbs
sea salt and black pepper
To start off heat some oil in a pan on a low heat and add the spinach leaves so they can wilt slowly. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Once they are done allow them time to cool and chop finely. Next in a large bowl add the chopped spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese and the extra virgin olive oil. Then add the marjoram, oregano and nutmeg. Stir the ingredients and season further with salt and pepper. Finally throw in the breadcrumbs so the mixture comes together nicely. This mix will keep in a fridge for one day should you choose to make it in advance.
Roll out the pasta using the preferred method of a pasta machine. Unfortunately we didn’t have one in our house so we had to make do with a rolling pin and Hubby’s brute strength. We then used a ravioli cutter to make the shapes and began distributing the mixture using a tablespoon. Then simply pinch around the edges to seal the mixture inside. A good tip we found was that if the ravioli doesn’t seal well enough at first then you can always use a little dab of milk to moisten the pasta. To cook the ravioli simply place them in a pan of salted boiling water for about 3-4 minutes.
Making the pea and crème fraiche sauce was very quick and simple to prepare. You will need the following ingredients:
30g of unsalted butter
115g of garden peas
12 fresh basel leaves (finely chopped)
60 ml of dry white wine
230g creme fraiche
100 ml of hot pasta cooking water
60g of baby spinach leaves
sea salt and black pepper
To make the sauce, start off by melting the butter in a saucepan and then adding the peas and chopped basil. Cook for a minute on a low heat. Next add the wine and turn the heat up until the wine has evaporated. Add in the creme fraiche and hot pasta cooking water. If you don’t have any pasta cooking water ready at the time, then you can always pour use boiling water out of the kettle. Then just season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Lastly add the baby spinach leaves and cook on a low heat until they have wilted. Voilà, you have a sauce to accompany your tasty dish.
Once the pasta is cooked, remove the ravioli from the boiling water and gently stir it into the sauce. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and then serve, covering the ravioli in any extra sauce.
So the lesson learned from this recipe is that next time we should invest in a pasta roller because the texture of the ravioli that Hubby created was absolutely terrible, so bad in fact that we ended up using the left over mixture and sauce to create a cannelloni with some dry lasagne sheets from the cupboard.
In our house if we want to #RespectThePasta we should definitely go to a restaurant to eat it!