You may think that making homemade spinach filled ravioli is this lengthy, daunting and messy undertaking that will leave you and your kitchen covered in flour. This really is a pasta myth! You will be surprise how simple and straight forward it is to prepare ravioli, specially when using the pasta machine. There are two methods of making fresh pasta, the machine method and the rolling-pin method. The machine method by far is the simplest one, it requires virtually no skill to use the machine and on your first try you will be producing fresh pasta, inexpensively, and at home.
For the machine method you need a ravioli mold, a fluted pasta wheel, a rolling pin, and pasta maker. If you have a KitchenAid mixer you can get a KitchenAid stainless steel pasta roller attachment. Most of the pasta machines that I have seen are hand-cranked, but electric ones are also made. If you already have a pasta machine and you like to get help turning the crank, you could buy a spare motor that connects to the machine’s shaft to replace the crank. When the kids were younger they spent a lot of time in the kitchen, testing the food and also any new kitchen gadget I would bring home (the engineer in them was already showing 🙂 ). The first time the boys saw the pasta machine in action they could not wait to turn the crank! so for a while when I prepare fresh pasta they would be there taking turns cranking the machine … I miss those days!!
One trick to making these ravioli is a dry filling, this will prevent a sticky ravioli. A sticky ravioli can end up breaking when moving from the platter to the hot water. How do you make a dry filling? The two ingredients that hold the most liquid are the ricotta cheese and the cooked spinach. For the spinach you can squeeze some of the water with your hands and a potato ricer will do a great job removing any extra water. Just put a handful of the spinach into the hopper and squeeze it dry over the sink. Repeat until you have pressed all the spinach. To drain the ricotta cheese you can take two strips of double layered cheesecloth and place them across a bowl. Put the ricotta in the center of the cheesecloth, pick the ends of the cloth to form a bundle and wring as much liquid out as you can.
No matter how much you love Buitoni’s four cheese ravioli they don’t hold a candle to these melt in your mouth spinach filled ravioli that you’ve made with your own two hands. Share with friends and family, plan an Italian dinner and let everyone be part of the preparation. Have fun!
- 1¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 16 oz. fresh spinach
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove
- Cook the spinach using a large pot with little water (2 inches of water from the bottom), a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda. I use baking soda to retain the green color of spinach.
- Once spinach is cooked remove the extra water from the spinach using the method discussed above.
- Finely chop the spinach and place in a bowl.
- Remove extra liquid from the ricotta cheese using cheesecloth to squeeze it out.
- Add cheeses (ricotta and Parmesan), egg, nutmeg, salt, and garlic.
- Mix well, cover and set aside.
- 3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour plus ½ cup (set on the side and use if the dough gets too sticky)
- 5 eggs
- Set the flour in a mound on a work surface and make a well in the center.
- Break the eggs into the well and beat lightly with a fork.
- With a fork work the flour from the sides of the well into the eggs until the eggs are no longer runny.
- Draw the sides of the mound together with your hands and start kneading the dough until you have a smoothly integrated mixture.
- If the dough is sticky, sprinkle with extra flour and knead it in. Test the dough by pressing your finger into the center; if it comes out clean, without any sticky on it, it is ready.
- Gather the dough in a ball, cover with a dish towel and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal parts.
- Set the thickness adjusting dial of the pasta machine to the smallest number, this is the widest opening.
- Flatten one of the pieces of dough with a rolling pin or with your hands until it is thin enough to go through the machine's cylinders.
- Run the dough through the machine.
- Fold the dough in half. If dough is sticky dust flour and spread with your hand.
- Feed the dough through the machine once again
- Repeat 3-4 times until it feels smooth. Making sure the flattened pasta is wide enough to cover the ravioli mold.
- Move the thickness adjusting dial to the next number this way closing down the opening between the machine's rollers.
- Dust with flour if necessary. Be cautious not to over do it because the pasta dough needs to be a bit sticky to help seal the ravioli.
- Run the flattened dough through the machine once.
- Repeat these steps until the thickness adjusting dial is on the second to last number. The max in my pasta machine is 7 so I take it all the way to 6.
- Liberally flour the ravioli mold.
- Fold the flattened dough in half and cut. Make sure that the pieces are about 1 inch wider and longer on all sides of the ravioli mold (check picture above).
- Place one sheet of pasta over the ravioli maker. Gently press the pasta into the depressions of the mold to form cups. The mold I use has a metal form with domes that you press into the dough over the metal mold to create the depressions. You remove this metal form once the depressions are made. Press gently because you can break the dough.
- Place part of the spinach filling in a plastic bag and cut ¼ inch from the tip.
- Squeeze about a whole teaspoon of filling into each pocket. The amount will vary depending on the mold you have. Put only enough to be able to seal the edges of the pasta.
- Place the other sheet of pasta over the ravioli filling. This will be the bottom of the ravioli.
- Using a rolling pin press the two layers of pasta together. Use pressure to cut the pasta into individual ravioli. Peel off excess dough from around the ravioli.
- Turn the ravioli maker over and give the mold a shake. The ravioli should easily fall out of the mold. If they don't tap the edge of the mold against the counter-top or another firm surface.
- If the pasta edges cannot be separated by hand, use a fluted pasta wheel or knife and separate each raviolo.
- Examine each raviolo to be sure it is properly sealed around the edges.
- Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Arrange the ravioli in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Cook the ravioli in a stockpot of boiling salted water until the pasta is al dente. You will know it is ready once the ravioli start floating, about 5 minutes.
- Drain and spread out into a large serving bowl.
- Serve with your choice of sauce. Great sauce suggestions are meat tomato sauce or an Alfredo sauce.
- Gently toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and serve.
Ravioli can be frozen. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer. Once the ravioli have frozen, you can remove them from the plate and put them into freezer bags.
Did you make this recipe?