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Main Course Vegetarian Appetizer
Homemade Ravioli image

Homemade Ravioli

Are you ready for some mental relaxation? Try making some pasta at home from scratch! This ravioli recipe is simple, with the main ingredient being time and concentration. A delicious vegetarian main course, or, in a smaller serving, a tasty appetizer.

Avoid last minute stress by making the ravioli a day ahead; the actual last prep and cooking will only take you 15 minutes.

Essential Equipment

In order to make pasta, you will need a pasta machine. Even if you plan to make your own pasta only a few times a year, this will be a solid investment for your kitchen. Or, alternatively, it will make a great Christmas present for you.

Step 1 - Preparing the dough

The first part of the process is making the pasta dough. As it needs time to rest, start with the dough well ahead of time.

A pasta dough is really simple: 500 gr of all-purpose flour, 3 medium to large eggs, a squish of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Using muscle or a kitchen machine, make this into a dough. Make sure you work the dough thoroughly; this will create the gluten structures that will provide the texture to your dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Step 2 - Processing the dough 

Next, attach your pasta machine to a solid surface. Spray a tiny little bit of flour onto the machine.

Cut the dough in four or six pieces of more or less equal size. Starting with the pasta machine in the widest position (usually 0 or 1), feed a piece of dough through the machine. Decreasing the width one step at the time, feed the resulting slab of dough through the machine. Does it seem the dough will stick? Dust with some flour. Repeat until the dough is thin (if your machine ranges settings from 0/1 to 9/10, go all the way to setting 7).

Using a cutter, cut circle shapes from the dough; laying them out to dry on greaseproof paper that you dusted with some flour to prevent sticking.

Repeat until you have used all the dough.

 

Step 3 - Preparing the spinach

Next, using a large skillet or a wok, fry some chopped garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil. After 30 seconds, add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts. Put aside and let cool down.

Once cold, squeeze out as much liquid from the spinach as you can; you could use the formal method of putting the spinach in a cloth and wringing it out, or just use your hands. Either way, soggy spinach will cause your ravioli to fall apart, so make sure you get your spinach as dry as you can.

 

Step 4 - Assemble the filling

In this next step we will assemble the filling of the ravioli. In a bowl, we loosen the spinach, add the mascarpone and grate a nutmeg; mix with a pinch of salt into a more or less uniform mixture.

Step 5 - The hardest part: making the raviolis

This little gadget is available in stores for a few bucks. It is definitely worth it getting a good brand from a specialized cooking store (initially I used a product of poor quality - thank you AliExpress - but it caused a lot of frustration). 

For each of the circles of dough, follow these next steps: put a circle of dough in your gadget; add a small tablespoon of the spinach filling in the middle; using a brush, moisten the edge of the circle with some egg wash; squeeze the gadget tightly closed; remove excess dough; remove the ravioli and put it on a dusted piece of greaseproof paper, making sure they don't touch each other.

Store the raviolis in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook and serve them. If you are doing your prep a day ahead it is a good idea to freeze the raviolis. Make sure they are sufficiently dusted in a container to prevent them from sticking together.

Step 6 - Last prep

The last steps in prep are to roast a handful of pine nuts until golden, and to make a beurre noisette. Do this by heating butter in a sauce pan until it turns dark and will start smelling nutty and caramelized. Go slow and watch out not to burn the butter and end up with a bitter taste. Remove from the heat source.

Step 7 - Cooking and serving

Using a large pot, bring a good volume of water (2 liters) to a boil with a pinch of salt.

Once the water is boiling, add your raviolis, if necessary in several batches. Once the start floating, usually after just two minutes, they are ready (al dente). Some people like to take them out and then fry them lightly in a skillet with butter, but I would suggest you skip this step if you are serving the raviolis as an appetizer.

Serve on top of some vegetables (asparagus comes to mind), pour some beurre noisette over, sprinkle the roasted pine nuts, and shave a black truffle over the dish (if you are lucky enough to have this extravaganza in your kitchen supply).

Ingredients

Quantities for two main course or four appetizers:

  • All-purpose flour, 500 grams (slightly over 32 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  • Spinach, 500 grams, wilted and squeezed dry
  • Mascarpone, 150 grams
  • 1 egg for assembling the raviolis
  • 50 grams of butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Truffle shavings.