July 2, 2012 | Pasta & Pizza
Every time I go to a cooking class in Italy, we make homemade pasta. Whether it’s the dense egg-less pasta of Puglia made with barley flour and shaped into orecchiette, the long strands of hand rolled pasta known as “priest stranglers”, or the classic rolled egg pasta of central Italy, I vow I’m going to make it as soon as I come home. But I never do. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t have a food safe wooden board specifically for rolling my pasta like I use in Italy. Or because I don’t think I’m going to make it as well as I was shown. Or because I’m just plain lazy. Well this year, I’ve vowed I’m going to do it. Only problem is I’m recovering from knee replacement surgery and still don’t have that food safe wooden board I need to get. So instead, I’ll share with you the photos and recipe from the ravioli we made in Casperia last month.It all starts with making a basic egg pasta – that’s 3 eggs to about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour.That gets worked together with a fork until it finally starts coming together into a ball, then you need to keep kneading it until it’s nice and smooth. Cover it with a towel so it doesn’t dry out and let it rest about 30-60 minutes.After it has rested, you need to roll it out as thin as you can possibly make it. When you think it’s thin enough, keep rolling! remember that two pieces of dough go together to form ravioli and we don’t want them to be too thick and chewy. Once you have it thin enough, spoon very small dollops of the filling (in this case a spinach and ricotta filling) in a row across the dough.Fold the whole row over on top of itself, and press around each filling mound, making sure to get all the air out and seal the dough. Use a ravioli cutter to cut them out, as the cutter does double duty both by cutting and helping to seal.In Italy, they use the leftover scraps of pasta to run over a chitara to make linguine, or cut up other pieces into very small bits to put in soup. To cook the ravioli, simply add them to boiling salted water for a few minutes. When they rise to the top, they are cooked. You can serve with a sauce of your choice – we used a simple butter and basil sauce with some fresh cherry tomatoes and Parmigiano cheese. That simple sauce really allowed the filling flavors to shine through. Now, all I need to do is get that pasta board and I promise I’ll make some here at home.
- 2½ cups flour (half all purpose, half semolina)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups chopped, cooked spinach (squeezed dry)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Place flour on a board and make a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Start pulling the flour into the egg with a fork. Reserve a portion of the flour off to the side in case the dough is too sticky, and begin kneading the rest of the dough together until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Cover with a towel and rest for 20 minutes before rolling and cutting.
- Combine spinach and cheese, using a fork to mix well. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Place small teaspoons of filling at intervals across the top of the rolled out dough. Fold over and gently seal around each, then use a cutter to cut into separate ravioli. Place ravioli in salted boiling water for a few minutes until they rise to the top of the boiling water, then drain and serve with sauce of your choice and top with Parmigiano cheese.