Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

For my birthday I received a KitchenAid pasta roller from my brother and tonight I finally broke it in. I've never been one to be interested in kitchen gadgets before, but the ones I've actually purchased I couldn't possibly live without. Like the ice cream maker I bought to make this kick ass ice cream, or the food processor for these sinful creations, and don't even get me started on my stand mixer since all things sweet and heavenly come from that sucker. I'd also say those around me have benefited from these gadgets as well. Sooo....since Christmas is around the corner, you know what's on my gift list :D It's funny how when you're younger all you want are toys and clothes, but apparently when you become domesticated, receiving kitchen gadgets are the highlights of getting old....LUV IT!

Since I received the pasta roller, I thought I'd face one of my many culinary fears: pasta dough. To think it was just one year ago I conquered my fears of making pie dough and anything involving yeast. Now it was time for the ravioli. This actually turned out to be a lot easier then I imagined. Who knew I'd get a work out while I was at it too - my arms were literally aching after kneading the dough - stop laughing!

Making fresh pasta really did make a difference in the finished product. The pasta tasted very light and you could really taste all the ingredients in the filling since I rolled it out pretty thin. I stopped at the #7 dial, but next time I'll try going all the way to #8....ooooh, I'm livin' on the edge.

The spinach and ricotta filling was light and creamy and wasn't rich in the least bit. I deviated from the original recipe for the dough, but used the ingredients pretty much verbatim for the filling and sauce. While the filling was spectacular, I didn't enjoy the sauce very much so I've only listed the recipe for the filling. I think a delicate sweeter sauce would be more appropriate next time. I found this recipe online and it seemed to tickle my fancy - I'll try that next time and report back.....oooh the anticipation.

I'm so excited to see what other types of pasta I can make with my new toy. The possibilities are endless! Don't worry, I'll be kind and share with those around me too. When I get in the mood for a carb overload, I'm takin' everyone down with me :D

UPDATE: Stopping on the last setting #8 of the pasta roller produces a light and thin dough. We found this the perfect thickness for ravioli. If the dough becomes too long to work with. Cut it in half and work with each piece individually - keeping the other piece under a towel so it doesn't dry out.

Homemade Pasta Dough

Adapted by NuM NuM and here
Makes about 25 raviolis - three servings

2 cups Durum semolina flour
2 eggs
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 room temp water
All-purpose flour for flouring boards

Using Kitchenaid Mixer and paddle attachment mix ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Change attachement to dough hook and mix on medium speed until mixture begins to come together. Squeeze some of the dough together in your hand and if the mixture holds together then it is ready. Lightly flour a cutting board with all purpose flour and add mixture to it and knead by hand until smooth and elastic probably about 10 minutes. Shape into a disc and cover tightly with plastic wrap for a minimum of thirty minutes. If you are going to use it later you can put it in the fridge.

Slice dough into four pieces. Grab the piece of dough you want to work with and keep the rest of the pieces covered with plastic wrap while you work with each piece at a time so they do not dry out.

Grab a piece of dough and try to form it into a square shape as best as you can, if not an oval dish is fine. If the dough seems sticky, flour it a little bit. Don't worry - any excess flour on the outside of the pasta will dissipate into the cooking water. Flour a baking sheet and have it ready to hold the finished ravioli.

With the roller on the largest setting (#1), pass the pasta through once. Fold it in half vertically and starting with the folded edge first pass it through a few more times until it is smooth and the same width as the pasta roller.

Now you can start thinning it out. Just keep changing your machine's settings to thinner and thinner, passing the dough a few times at each setting. If at any point the dough starts to feel sticky, sprinkle everything with flour again. I stopped at knotch #7 for my ravioli and I thought that was just right. If the dough gets too long to handle, cut it in half and work with each piece individually. Cover the other piece with a dish towel if you are using two sheets.

This video may help when using your pasta machine.

Place the sheet on a floured board horizontally and place teaspoonfuls of your filling on the bottom half of the sheet leaving about a 1/2 inch border from the bottom. Place a heaping teaspoon (or use a small cookie dough scooper) of the filling on the rest of the sheet spacing them one inch apart. Next fill a small bowl with water and using a small brush or your finger spread some water in around your filling all the way around. Next take the other side of the sheet and fold it over the filling. Starting from the top of the filling and making your way down to the bottom edge, press down pushing out all the air boubbles so your ravioli does not burst in the water. Next cut the ravioli on the sides and bottom of the sheet leaving about 1/4" border. Place finished ravioli on floured baking sheet and cover with a towel until ready to cook.

When you are ready to cook. Bring a pot full of water to a rolling boil. Add salt and then drop raviolis one at a time. Do not add too many at one time since you don't want to over crowd the pan. Ravioli are done once they float to the top - I also like to wait about 30 seconds after that too.

If you plan on making these in advance, place the baking sheet full of finished ravioli (in one layer only) in the freezer. Once the ravioli have frozen solid, you can transfer them into a ziplock bag and continue to freeze them until ready to use. When ready to eat them, drop the frozen ravioli directly into boiling water for 4 or 5 minute, and then toss with sauce.

*If you would like to make other shapes with your pasta:

Once it's as thin as you want it, cut the long rectangle of dough into the length of the pasta you want - 10-12 inches is good. If your rolling machine cuts pasta, you can run it through there. To cut the pasta by hand, dust the pasta well and then roll it up loosely. Cut the roll across into your desired width.

Shake out the rolls and separate any noodles that are sticking together and let dry for a few minutes. You can also bundle long pastas in nests. Just toss them with a bit of flour and gather a bundle into the nest shape to keep the noodles from sticking together. Cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap while you repeat the rolling and cutting on the other pieces of dough.

Allow your pasta to dry for one hour. Test the dryness of your pasta to ensure that it's about as dry as the pasta you'd purchase in the refrigerated case at your local market.

Place the dried pasta in a sealable bag and store in your refrigerator or freezer. Be sure to write the date on the bag so that you'll know how fresh your pasta is when you pull it out Refrigerated fresh pasta will last up to three days, while frozen fresh pasta should be consumed within three months.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Recipe adapted from Everyday Italian



For the dough:

In a large bowl combine the flour and the water. Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine into a large ball handling as little as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

Combine all the ingredients except the egg in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Taste the mixture and add more salt if necessary. Add egg and mix until combined.

Form the ravioli using the above method and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half the ravioli and cook until the ravioli float stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain into a large bowl and cook the remaining ravioli.

Pour the olive oil over the cooked ravioli. Add the basil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Gently toss to coat and serve immediately.

*I ran out of spinach so I pureed kernels of corn and used that for half the filling.