Create homemade pasta parcels with this simple riccota and spinach ravioli recipe
STEPS 8 INGREDIENTS 9 TIME 60 MINS
And strangely, despite its calorific ingredients, this is one spinach ravioli recipe that actually tastes fairly 'light'... it must be something to do with the cheese being balanced out by Popeye's favourite ingredient, strength-enhancing spinach!
This dish is also a good one to impress guests with, as the process of making ‘parcel’ pasta from scratch seems to make people think you’re a genius!
Either use this spinach ravioli recipe to create a main course (the easiest approach) or - as the Italians put it - a 'primo piatto' (the first of two slightly smaller main courses). You could follow it with a meat or fish dish say.
When filling and shaping ravioli yourself you need fresh flat pasta to start with, and that means making it rather than buying it.
Don't worry though, this is really simple... if I can do it, anyone can! And you'll feel like a real chef making it.
First then, open my pasta dough recipe page (right-click this link to open in another window), and make your pasta - you’ll only need a bag of all-purpose/plain flour, one egg for each guest, and a little salt.
Ingredients (not including pasta): (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click this link and choose 'Save target/link as' to save the list for later.)
For the stuffing
1 x 250g/8.8oz tub of Ricotta cheese (the preferred brand of my Italian mamma-in-law is Santa Lucia, from Italy of course)
250-300g/9-11oz bag of fresh spinach
Pinch of salt
2-4 average sized (dessert) spoons of grated parmesan
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
For the sauce
Small handful of sage leaves
40g/1.4oz of butter (salted or unsalted)
Extra virgin olive oil
Deep skillet/pan with lid (for cooking spinach and boiling pasta)
Colander/sieve (not essential)
Preparation time (including making the pasta): 25-30 mins
Preparation time (excluding making the pasta): 15-20 mins
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes (max)
Step 1 – Make the pasta and roll it out until it’s very thin. Ideally the pasta should be just one millimeter thick, but two is ok.
(In testing this spinach ravioli recipe, I’ve made the pasta thicker than 1-2mm before, but this doesn't work - it makes the pasta too chewy. My best tip then is this: if the pasta rips when you’re rolling it, it’s thin enough!)
Step 2 – Now let's make one of the most popular ravioli fillings around...
Wash the spinach and pull off the stalks so just the leaves are left. Now gently fry the spinach and butter in the pan/skillet - on a medium heat - until the spinach wilts (loses its size). It may look like a lot of veg in there but it quickly shrinks!
If possible use a covered pan as this will speed up the process. This ‘wilting’ usually takes 5-10 minutes.
Step 3 – Grab something you can cut circles in the pasta with. A cup/glass will work, or you can invest in a proper pasta shape cutter.
I make a circle diameter of about 5cm. Certainly don’t go over 7-8cm, as such thin pasta parcels can break apart when cooking.
Upturn your glass/cutter and start cutting out circles of pasta!
STOP! Check the spinach. Pull it off the heat when it has completely ‘fallen down’ in the pan.
Carry on. Keep your finished pasta circles on a separate flour-peppered plate while you work. Place the circles next to each other (not piled up as they’ll stick).
Step 4 – The spinach should be ready, so take it off the heat. Pop it in a bowl, ideally a colander/sieve.
Squash it with a big spoon to drain away the water. Rinse the skillet/pan and fill it with hot water and a little salt for the pasta later.
Step 5 – Pop the ricotta in a mixing bowl. Add the spinach, nutmeg, parmesan, pepper and salt. Mix it well and have a taste (hmmm, how fresh and delicious is that?).
Step 6 – Now for the really fun bit!
Start blobbing a bit of the spinach mixture into the middle of the pasta circles. For my 5cm circles I use just over half a teaspoon full.
Fold the circle in half - being sure to keep the filling inside - and press a fork firmly around the edge to seal it in a half-moon shape.
Continue until they’re all done. For a main course I tend to eat around 15 5cm ravioli circles.
FACT! Although referred to by many outside Italy as ravioli (including here so that everyone could find this ravioli recipe easily), these semi-circle shaped pasta parcels are strictly known in Italian as ‘pansotti’.
Step 7 – Boil the pan/skillet of water (I use a kettle to heat the water first - it's quicker), then drop in the ravioli and add a squirt of olive oil. The parcels will sink, but after just a few minutes boiling away (as little as two!) they’ll float to the top.
Cook them for just another minute or two after that (keep testing them to check the pasta is how you like it, but don't overcook it whatever you do!), before whipping them out and draining them.
Step 8 – Throw the pasta in a frying pan with the butter and sage, and stick it on a medium heat.
Mix it gently for a couple of minutes until the pasta is coated in the butter. Add a bit more grated parmesan if you like.
Serve with: Why complicate matters? This ravioli recipe is simple Italian fare, so serve it alone in some nice pasta dishes. My Italian wife loves colourful dishes from the Amalfi coast of Italy (like the one shown in the picture above).
For the wine, it's up to you. A light-ish red will work or a nice fruity white also does the business.
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