Thursday, May 24, 2012

Anniversary Dinner: Spinach + Ricotta Ravioli

Hey all - it's been a while since my last post, what with school finally wrapping up, graduation, an out-of-town wedding of a dear friend, and now Justin and my 2nd wedding anniversary.

Man, time really flies. These past two anniversaries we spent at Innsbrook, a small lake community about an hour outside of St. Louis. On the way out, we stopped by Annie Gunn's Smokehouse market to pick up a few things. This place is awesome.

Justin's parents have a lovely cabin out at Innsbrook, with a boat and everything. And by everything, I also mean a fully functional kitchen. Justin and I like to celebrate by cooking for each other.

This kitchen is larger than the one we have at home, so we have extra room to maneuver. Last year I tried making homemade ravioli, which ended up a huge disaster. We didn't have a pasta roller, so we tried rolling pasta out with a wine bottle. Not pretty.

This year went much smoother, and the ravioli turned out well. We did a twist on the traditional spinach and ricotta ravioli by making spinach pasta. It looks and tastes gorgeous.

{Printable Recipe}
For the pasta:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs +1 egg yolk
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
dash of salt
1 bag baby spinach

For the filling:
1 container ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tsp salt
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
dash garlic powder

I didn't really get any good pictures of this, because, well, it was my anniversary and I wasn't thinking about blogging (sorry guys).

Blanch the entire bag of spinach in a bit of boiling water. Drain it out, let it cool, and then squeeze out all the water with a towel. Put the spinach and a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth.

Follow the basic directions for making pasta dough, but also add in the wilted, chopped spinach. Knead it around, wrap it up in some plastic film, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours.

For the filling, just mix everything together and let it sit to incorporate the flavors.

When you're ready, roll out the pasta dough with the pasta maker. I like to stop at the #5 setting so that there's a little extra firmness to the pasta and it holds its shape. It's the third to last thinnest setting. 

Drop little tablespoons of ricotta mixture on one half of the pasta dough, about an inch apart from each other. With a different sheet of pasta, brush some egg wash on one side, place carefully on top of the pasta sheet with the filling, and press around the edges of the ricotta so that not much air is in there.

Trim around the edges of the ricotta lumps, leaving enough room so that you have a nice edge. If you want, press the edges down lightly with a fork to crimp them.

Boil them for one minute, and serve with a simple marinara sauce. We had these with grilled steaks.


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