My friend Ruth asked me for a recipe for homemade ravioli. To be honest I haven't tried making my own ravioli yet. I have tried making homemade pasta before and my problem usually is that it turns out too thick, which can be fine if you are making fettuccine to be served on a hearty meat sauce, but it's not acceptable when it comes to ravioli or tortellini. So, dear Ruth, here is a recipe that I took from a wonderful Italian book of traditional recipes: "Ricette di Osterie d'Italia" by Slow Food, a collection of 600 of the best pasta recipes taken from the best Italian Osterie. Be warned though: you will need to work your dough pretty hard and well and get it to be as thin as possible. Italian grandmas do it without a sweat, but then again if you were ever slapped by an Italian grandma you would understand why! You could also resort to a pasta machine, but that just wouldn't be as cool, so if you do, just don't tell anyone! I have translated the recipe and tried to make it look as simple as possible. For the sake of my American blog readers I have also converted the quantities in cups and tablespoons, according to the conversion chart I found here, hopefully it is accurate!
This recipe comes from the Abruzzo region ( in central Italy, south-east of Lazio, which is the Rome region) where this ravioli are prepared with a kind of wild spinach called "orapi", but they can be made with regular spinach. The quality of the ricotta is very important, so try to find the freshest ricotta possible as well as a good piece of fresh Parmesan cheese (grate it yourself, it will taste so much better!)
(for 4 people)
3 and 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of extravirgin olive oil
2 lbs of spinach
1 and 1/2 cups of Ricotta
1 tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Mix the ingredients for the dough and work the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 15 minutes.
Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough in a thin layer ( not too thin or it will break while cooking but not too thick or it won't taste good!) then divide it in two layers and let rest.
Wash and cook the spinach in boiling water with a pinch of salt for a few minutes, until completely wilted.
Drain the spinach, run under cold water and then squeeze well to let all the excess water out.
Put the spinach in a food processor or cut very finely.
In a medium bowl, mix the spinach with the eggs, the ricotta, the parmesan cheese and the nutmeg ( to taste) then season with salt and pepper.
Form little balls of filling and space them evenly on one of the dough layers.
Put the second layer on top of the first one and press with your fingers in between the layers to make them adhere well.
Cut the ravioli squares with a knife, or, better, with a ravioli cutter ( it looks a little like a pizza cutter but with irregular edges).
Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water until done then season with melted butter, fresh sage leaves and salt. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.