Ravioli with spinach-parmesan and ricotta-prosciutto filling

Ravioli are perfect for a diner party. They look posh, but if you have a little experience, you can make them in a matter of time. Especially when you make them for a small amount of people, or when you use them as a starter. You can make them and keep them for a while in the fridge, but make sure they don’t dry out.

The recipe for the dough is always the same (also for making other pasta), but you can stuff it with everything you want. Just keep in mind that a very wet filling causes problems sometimes, because these are likely to burst in the boiling water.

It is important to use flower meant to make pasta with. This is the Italian grade 00 flower, made from hard durum wheat. If you use ordinary flower, you get noodles, not pasta.

The recipe sound very complicated, but just give it a try. The first time probably will be a horror, you’ll probably have problems with rolling your dough. But after the first time, it gets more easy. You get to know what works and what doesn’t, you can experiment with different fillings. The ravioli you buy at the supermarket won’t be as tasty as yours, and the ones of the delicacy shop will be much more expensive (and probably also not as tasty as yours).

About 12 big ravioli, depending on shape and size.

200 gram pasta flower
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil (not classic Italian, but it helps to form a smooth dough)

NB: you need a pasta machine for this recipe

Put the flower in a bowl, make a small hole in the middle, put in the eggs, salt and olive oil. Mix in the flower and knead until you have a smooth dough. The right consistency is really important, otherwise you get problems with rolling out the dough and your ravioli will burst while cooking. So keep kneading until you have a very smooth, elastic dough. Cover it in clean film and put it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Take the dough from the fridge, cut in half, put one piece back in the fridge and roll the other half.
Put your machine on the widest setting. Roll the dough a few times trough, then fold it in two and put it trough again. When the dough is very dry and flaky, knead some more water trough; when the dough is too wet and sticks to the pasta machine, sprinkle with some flour. It is important to work fast, as the dough dries out quite quickly.

Roll the dough trough the machine and put the setting each time thinner. When you are at the thinnest setting, you want to have a nice big sheet of pasta with sort of straight edges. Fold the sheet together (if you have a good dough, it won’t stick, otherwise use some flower) and wrap it in clean film so it won’t dry out. Roll the second ball of pasta as well.

Now is the time to fill your ravioli. There are several ways to do this.

1. Cut rectangles from your dough (with a knife or ravioli/pastry wheel). Spoon a dollop of filling on one side. Smear the edge with a little bit of water. Put the other half of the rectangle over it. Make sure you don’t trap any air inside (keep one side open and push the air out) and seal the edges well, otherwise your ravioli will burst when cooking. You can make a half moon of it by cutting the edges with a round cutter (or cut around the edge of a glass). Or you can leave them rectangular.

2. Put dollops of filling on one sheet of pasta. Make sure you keep enough distance between them. Brush the edges with some water. Put the other sheet of pasta on top. Seal the ravioli. Make sure you don’t trap any air inside (keep one side open and push the air out) and seal the edges well, otherwise your ravioli will burst when cooking. Cut the ravioli with a round cutter, or cut around the edges of a glass.

Boil the ravioli for a few minutes (1-4 min, depending on size and filling) in a BIG pan of boiling water with some salt. Don’t put to many at once in the pan. Remove the ravioli from the pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside and keep warm until you cooked all the ravioli.

Sage or parsley butter

a knob of butter
some parsley or sage
a splash of lemon juice
a pinch of salt and pepper

Melt the butter, put in the sage or parsley, some lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. This is a very good sauce to toss your ravioli in. It covers the ravioli a little bit, but it is not to heavy and it doesn’t overpower the filling of the ravioli.

Off course you can serve your ravioli with any sauce you like, but this is what I like best.

Spinach-parmesan filling

100 gram spinach
100 gram mushrooms, cubed
1 shallot, cubed
50 gram parmesan
some butter
some nutmeg

Wash the spinach, put it in a wok and wait till it slinks. Put it in a sieve, push as much water out as you can. Chop finely. Sauté the mushrooms and the shallot in a little bit of butter, drain as well. Put the spinach, mushrooms and shallot in a bowl, grate the parmesan above, season with nutmeg and pepper. Mix and use as filling for ravioli.

Ricotta-prosciutto filling

200 g Ricotta
200 g Prosciutto
100 g brown mushroom
a little pepper

Cut the prosciutto in small cubes. Cut the mushrooms in small cubes and fry them slightly. Mix with the ricotta. Season with a little pepper. Use as filling for ravioli.

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