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Cheese & Spinach Ravioli

Cheese Spinach Ravioli

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Makes 4 dozen.
By Dennis W. Viau; an original recipe.

Ravioli is a fun pasta to make. There are many options for the filling, and you can mix many leftovers with seasoning and other flavorful ingredients and use the mixture to fill ravioli. Unless you can purchase pasta dough where you live, you’ll need to make your own. It isn’t difficult.

Ingredients:

For the Pasta Dough:
4 large eggs
1 egg yolk, save the white to make an egg wash
1 cup (6 ounces/170g) durum wheat semolina pasta flour, plus more flour as needed
1 cup (5 ounces/142g) all-purpose flour, plus more flour as needed
½ teaspoon salt

For the Ravioli Filling:
5 ounces (142g) fresh spinach
12 ounces (340g) ricotta cheese
2 ounces (57g) grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 slices (1 ounce/28g) prosciutto, minced
1 large egg
Optional: 1 to 2 anchovy fillets, minced
½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh, minced)
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon ground oregano
Freshly grated nutmeg (1/8 to ¼ teaspoon)

Directions:

To Make the Pasta Dough:
It is difficult to specify an exact amount of flour because egg sizes vary. The larger the eggs, the more flour needed. Here in the USA a large egg weighs about 2 ounces (57g) in the shell. That might help you to adjust accordingly.

Combine all the pasta dough ingredients and blend, adding additional flours as needed, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. The ideal dough is a little soft and slightly sticky. Knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic and let rest 2 to 3 hours. Can be made a day in advance and refrigerated until needed.

To Make the Ravioli Filling:
Remove larger stems from the spinach and wash the leaves well. Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of water in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Place the spinach in the pan and set over medium heat until the water begins to boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until the spinach is fully wilted.

Drain the spinach and allow to cool until comfortable the handle. Squeeze excess moisture out of the cooked spinach. A potato ricer fitted with a fine screen works well. Chop the spinach into a small mince.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked spinach with all the remaining filling ingredients. Mix well. Note: Here in the USA ricotta cheese is typically sold in a 15-ounce container. You don’t need to use the entire container, but you can if you wish to stretch the filling to make more ravioli.

Start heating 3 to 4 quarts (4 to 5 liters) of water to boiling in a large pot.

Roll the pasta dough through a pasta machine (or with a rolling pin) to make long sheets that are slightly wider than your ravioli form. Cut a sheet slightly longer than the form and drape it over the frame. The edges should hang down about half an inch (1.25cm). If a dimpled form came with the ravioli form, press the dimpled form onto the pasta sheet to shape depressions. Otherwise, use your fingers to gently shape depressions in the dough. Be careful not to tear it (short fingernails are a must).

Fill each depression with a small amount of filling, enough to fill the depression, with the filling slightly mounding above the surface of the pasta dough. Cut another sheet of dough large enough to cover the ravioli frame. Combine the saved egg white with a teaspoon or two of water to make an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, coat one side of the cover sheet with egg wash and arrange, brushed side down, on top of the ravioli frame. Carefully press the top sheet all around each ravioli, sealing all the edges and squeezing out as much air as possible.

Invert the frame onto the counter, releasing the sheet of ravioli. Trim the edges and cut between the ravioli to separate them. I prefer to use a fluted cutter for this task, but a knife will suffice. Continue until all the filling and/or available pasta dough is used. (I find I can get 4 dozen ravioli with this recipe. I save the pasta scraps trimmed from the ravioli, cutting them into smaller pieces. I freeze them to use later in soups.)

Heat your favorite pasta sauce (I prefer marinara with this ravioli) to serving temperature. Keep warm.
Add the ravioli to the boiling water and return to the boil. Cook about 2 minutes. Drain. Portion the cooked ravioli onto plates. Drape well with sauce and serve. There is no need to garnish with extra cheese, as there is plenty of cheese in the filling.