From Scratch, With Love


with 2 comments

For my birthday (in February) John’s parents gave me a pasta machine.  Such a good gift.  Making pasta is so satisfying because the result is simple, yet magnificent!  The first time I used it I made simple egg noodles.  The second time I made spinach pasta.  Today is the third time.  I made spinach pasta dough and with that dough I made ravioli.

I am so proud of this dish.  Though I looked up ravioli in Joy of Cooking, for tips, I did not follow a recipe for the filling, and I only sort of followed a recipe for the dough. I decided to make a simple tomato sauce to go with it to complement the flavors without overpowering them.  It was delicious.  And very filling!

Ravioli Filling

In a small bowl, combine

1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
a tablespoon of minced parsley
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
a grating of black pepper

Stir until smooth.

Spinach Pasta Dough (1/2 lb of pasta)

Wilt 5 oz spinach in a small frying pan by heating about 1/4 cup of water over low heat and adding fresh or frozen spinach or baby spinach to the pan.  Stir it occasionally.  It should wilt fairly quickly.  Once wilted (you should be left with about 1/4 cup of spinach), drain thoroughly and mince finely and let cool.

In a small bowl, sift together 1 cup semolina or all-purpose flour and 1/2 tsp salt.

In a large bowl, combine 1 egg, 1/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp olive oil, and the spinach.

Gradually fold the flour mixture into the spinach mixture until it has a dough-like consistency.  If too dry, add a little more water.  If too wet, add a little more flour.  Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on a counter, and briefly knead the dough until smooth.  Cut the dough into quarters.

Set up your pasta machine so that the rollers are on the widest setting (“7” on mine).  Start feeding one of the quarters of dough through, coating with flour after each roll.  It will be very sticky for the first few feeds.  Fold it in half before each feed.  Once the dough is elastic and smooth, switch the machine to the next number (“6” on mine) and feed it through once, without folding. Continue to narrow the rollers after each feed until you reach your desired thinness (“4” for me).

Carefully lay the strip of pasta on a lightly floured cutting board and cut in half so that you have two 4 x 8 inch sheets of pasta.

Place about a teaspoon of the Ravioli Filling on the corner of the pasta sheet so that it’s about 1/2 inch from either edge.  Place the next dollop about an inch away from it so that it also has about 1/2 inch of room from the edge.  Repeat until the sheet has about 8 equally spaced dollops of the cheese mixture.

With a pastry brush or your fingers, brush water onto the dough so that each dollop (I like that word) is surrounded.  This will make the top sheet of pasta stick.

Lay the other sheet of pasta on top of the first sheet so that the edges match.  Make sure you don’t lay it so the floured side is down, because then it won’t stick as well.  Use your hands the press the dough down around the cheese mixture to that it sticks, and try to avoid creating air bubbles (I failed at this).  Once the dough has stuck, use a pizza cutter or pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut each piece of ravioli out.  You can also use a biscuit cutter if you want round ravioli.  Lay the ravioli on a lightly floured cookie sheet and let rest for about half an hour before cooking.

Repeat with the other quarters of pasta dough.

Simple Marinara Sauce

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 4 or five thin slices of onion.  Once those begins to soften, add 3 cloves of garlic, sliced.  Stir-fry for a minute or so, then turn the heat to medium-low and add a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes.  Stir so that the ingredients are combined.  Grind some fresh pepper into the mixture and allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, roughly chop some fresh basil and parsley (about 2 tablespoons of each).  When the sauce has thickened, add about a teaspoon of salt and the herbs.  Allow to simmer for another minute or two, then decant.

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Add some salt.  Drop in about half the ravioli and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook with the top off for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the ravioli is floating contentedly at the top.  Scoop the ravioli out with a slotted spoon into a colander to drain and repeat with the other half of the ravioli.

To serve, scoop some ravioli into a bowl or plate, cover with some sauce, and grate a little fresh parmesan (or your choice of cheese) over it.  It seems like it would go well with red wine, but I didn’t have any.


Written by poperatzii

May 30, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Andrea Original, Italian

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. The ravoli looks delicious! I’ve made pasta but you’ve sure got me very tempted to run out to get a pasta machine!

    Is pasta easy to make from scratch though? I once read on someone’s blog that their pasta turned out rather tough and hard and that admittedly scared me off trying it a little.


    June 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

  2. Pasta is very forgiving, in my experience. Like I said, I’ve only made it three times, but it’s turned out exquisitely each time. There’s also many difference techniques out there, so I suspect little mistakes don’t make a huge difference. It is sort of labor-intensive though. You have to run the dough through the machine many times (it gets kneaded that way)and it starts out a sticky mess (you have to use lots of flour at first) but then eventually becomes a beautiful ribbon of pasta. When cooking it as noodles, you have to be careful not to overcook it because it cooks rather quickly and if it gets overcooked it is sort of mushy. The first time I did it, I just looked at the directions that came with the machine and at the tips that Joy of Cooking gives and sort of got the main points from them and did it. It’s fun! Impress your friends!


    June 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm

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