Day 106 – Spinach and Sage Ravioli

Hello Yearlings!

I don’t feel like this is really a secret, but I want you guys to know that I love pasta. Actually, I love carbohydrates, just in general. I love pizza, pasta, rice balls and bread. If there were a house fire and it was up to me to choose between saving a child and saving some pasta, I would probably choose the pasta. Ok, that might be exaggerating, but I really really really love pasta.

I don’t make fresh pasta nearly as much as I should, mostly because I hate the whole process of having to wait for it to hydrate; I’m all about that instant gratification. When I do make fresh pasta, however, I keep it simple and only make noodles. I thought I might switch it up a bit and try my hand at some filled pastas (read: ravioli, tortellini). I tried out a few different pasta recipes until I came to a flavor profile I liked (which actually turned out to be the least complicated, go freaking figure) and a few different fillings until I came up with something that I wanted to share with you guys.

The pastas themselves varied wildly, I felt, based on what types of flour you used and in what proportions, while the fillings (no matter what they were) were all delicious. That’s the awesome thing about ravioli filling, as long as the moisture is relatively low and the ricotta is quality you can really do anything you want as long as you do it in balance. I could eat this ravioli all day long with just the original Plain Jane ricotta filling that we initially created, but the spinach and sage filling is by far my favorite!

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First, measure out your semolina and then put it on your clean work surface.
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Make a well in your flour and fill it with your eggs and egg yolks. Mix until thoroughly combined. This will take a bit of work and more than a little elbow grease but just keep going until everything is smooth and incorporated and it kind of feels like an ear lobe.
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This is what it should look like. Allow to sit, covered tightly in cling wrap, in your fridge for at least an hour, but not more than six, to hydrate. This might seem unnecessary but you really do need to do it. It perfects the texture of your pasta.
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While your pasta is resting go ahead and make your filling. Wilt your spinach in a pan and then take it out and press it between paper towels or a clean tea towel to get out all the excess moisture. You should also press out your ricotta to get rid of any excess moisture and while you can use fresh sage in your mix I like to saute mine in a little bit of butter. Then you just mix it all up, cover it in cling film and let it sit in the fridge until you need it.
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Place your dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into quarters.
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Then just run each piece through your pasta maker. Make sure that when you’re working on a piece you remember to wrap the rest back up in the cling film, otherwise they will dry out and you don’t want that.
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Once the pasta comes to the right thickness (I had to cut all my pieces in half), lay it out on the work surface and lightly score it so that you know where to place your filling.
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Then, using a teaspoon measure, place a teaspoon of your filling into each of your lightly scored areas. Then make an egg wash (using an egg and a little bit of water) and place it on all of the edges and along the score lines. This will create a seal for the pasta so that they won’t burst when you’re cooking them.
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Fold over the pasta, press down the edges being sure to get rid of any air bubbles and then just cut roughly along the score lines. They won’t be perfect, but ravioli is mean to be rustica so just pretend like you did it on purpose.
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If you have any excess pasta that you don’t turn into ravioli then just cut it yourself or run it through whatever attachment you might have for your pasta maker and turn it into regular noodles.

Ingredients:

Pasta:

10 oz semolina

2 whole eggs, at room temperature

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

Filling:

7 oz ricotta

1 oz gruyere

1 oz parmesan

1 oz spinach (wilted and pressed dry)

.5 oz sage (browned/toasted)

pinch of salt and pepper if desired

Cooking these beauties is the same as cooking any other filled pasta that you might buy from the store; drop them in salted boiling water and wait for them to float, allow them to cook a few more minutes then drain. I do recommend that you use them immediately as I have yet to find a reliable manner of storing them without parts becoming either too dry or too wet. If you do not have a pasta maker then you can for sure make these, just use a rolling pin and roll out all of your pieces until you reach the desired thickness and cute whatever width of pasta you want.

Procedure for making these without a pasta maker:
Roll out dough to a rough square, then press into a cleaner rectangle for any rough edges.
Roll out dough until it doubles in size, then split the dough into equal parts.  Set one part aside.
Roll out smaller dough into a thin sheet, folding it in on itself if it becomes too uneven.  Roll out this dough until it is translucent (somewhat see-through)
Fill.

Just like that you’ve made the king of pastas and when you serve this to your friends they’ll be all like: “Holy hot damn, you made ravioli!” I might also be exaggerating here, but that’s literally what I would say if you made this for me. The pasta is tender and the filling is literally to die for, but if you don’t like sage or your not married to this particular filling mixture then vary it up however you want. Ravioli filling is really quite forgiving and it’s all about catering to your personal tastes. I also think porcini and ricotta makes for a great ravioli filling, you just can’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen!

Let me know what your favorite ravioli fillings are and if you end up trying out this recipe!

Lots of Love,

Maya

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