Spinach Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

#RecipeUpTop (details below):

  • 450g flour
  • 300g eggs (6 large)
  • 12 oz frozen spinach
  • 32 oz ricotta
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fresh nutmeg (to taste)
  • A sauce of one’s own
  • 1 more egg (to seal the ravioli)

Method: Combine flour, eggs, and salt (to taste), together with two (2) tablespoons of pureed spinach, and allow to rest for thirty (30) minutes. Roll out into sheets and stuff with a mixture of seasoned ricotta and the remainder of the spinach. Seal the ravioli and move to freezer for at least thirty (30) minutes, or until fully frozen.

To cook, boil for five (5) to eight (8) minutes. Top with sauce and fresh parmesan.

The Details

I have a rule about Christmas. It’s immutable and beautiful and is the last bastion in our fight against abject chaos. In short: Christmas doesn’t start until Santa shows up at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Simple.

Well, suffice it to say, this year took that hard-and-fast beachhead of certitude and plowed a bulldozer right through it.

And so, I find myself listing to JINGLE BELL ROCK at 10:30am on November 8th, as Mrs. 10Chickens decks the halls.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Never one to let a tradition fall through the cracks, I dashed to the window and threw open the sash and said “IT’S TIME FOR RED-AND-GREEN RAVIOLI!”

This is a recipe I love because it’s dirt cheap, it’s easy, it makes an entire holiday season full of ravioli, and it’s unnecessarily flashy and flexy in the way that most holiday food should be.

Oh, and it’s bonkers delicious and comforting, and the perfect repast after a day of pine needles and tiny metal hooks.

Step one: sauce.

So, we’ve covered tomato sauce before, and I’m using that same recipe here with two tweaks: I’m adding a roasted red bell pepper to the tomato part of the dish, and a single star anise to the juice part. That’s it. Whip it up and keep it handy.

Step two: the spinach. So, we need to do a few things this to make sure it hits the dough the right way, and that it mixes with the ricotta. I’m using frozen spinach here because cooking down fresh spinach is, well, demoralizing. It’s really a sad and horrible process, so I just skip it and buy frozen.

That said, we need to thaw it and drain it, then toss it in a blender or a food processor with salt, nutmeg, and enough olive oil to get it smoothly pureed:

A quick word about the nutmeg. The fresh spice has absolutely nothing to do with the pre-ground powdered nonsense. Like, literally nothing. Fresh nutmeg is more like black pepper, but infinitely more complex. Get it. Love it. Use it.

Step three: the pasta. We’ve covered the dough before, and are doing the same thing here with the following changes:

Once the dough has started to come together, but is not yet a ball, add two (2) tablespoons of the pureed spinach, and knead on a floured surface until it becomes a tight ball.

It will be a little more relaxed and sticky than regular pasta dough, but that’s fine. Also, this recipe makes roughly ten thousand (10,000) ravioli, and a lot of these are destined for the freezer as I mentioned. Feel free to scale down if you’d like.

Anyway, as the original recipe says, let this rest for half an hour to set the gluten matrix. In the meantime:

Step four: the filling. Mix the remainder of the spinach puree with a large container (32oz) of ricotta, and season with olive oil (yes, season with oil. I meant what I said.) and salt to taste.

The funny thing about ricotta is it goes from bland to over-salted with like a single grain of salt, so go slow and taste it a lot (the horror).

Step five: make some ravioli!

I roll this out with my stand mixer attachment, and you may notice this dough is a little more tender and pliant than regular pasta dough. As a result, I go down to #5 on the thickness instead of all the way to #6.

I also aim for really, really long sheets because I know I’ll have to cut off the ends to square things up:

I know it kind of looks like I’m shooting this in my pasta dungeon, and I’m not sure what happened to the lighting, but here’s what the sheet looks like.

SPEED HACK: load up your cheese mixture into a pastry bag, or (like me) a freezer bag with the corner cut off:

To be sure, you can use spoons, but this mixture is built for piping, so it’s a lot less work this way. Speaking of, pipe some filling:

Leave plenty of space in between ravioli for sealing, but don’t be shy. Also, this pasta is way more tasty than the classic recipe, so I don’t trim any of it off (unlike the butternut version).

Brush the soon-to-be-seams with egg wash, and seal:

I like to use a pizza cutter to separate them, then move to a floured sheet pan:

These go in the freezer, even if I’m cooking them that night. I like the freezing process to help set the seals, and just generally reinforce the structural integrity of everything.

The GREAT news here is these can freeze solid and last for all of eternity. Once they’re frozen, move to a loose bag or tupperware and dispense as desired for quick lunches, fried football snacks, or late night shameful gobbling.

Anyway, to cook: boil for five (5) to eight (8) minutes, or until they float in the water and are tender.

NOTE: they will swell up A LOT, so don’t make too many. Or do. Just FYI.

Plate and serve with your sauce, and some fresh parm:

There it is. Holly jolly ravi-olly(?) Anyway, it’s not even Thanksgiving. Whatever.

2 thoughts on “Spinach Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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