My family’s idea of an Italian dinner is a trip to Olive Garden! But for some reason, I decided to try to make homemade ravioli. I KNOW, I KNOW…WHY WOULD I TRY TO MAKE IT WHEN THEY SELL IT IN THE FREEZER SECTION!!! But I’m on a kick to cook things that I wouldn’t normally think of making myself. So I got out my old-school and previously unused, pasta making attachment for my KitchenAid mixer, and got to work! Now, I must specify that I have the “OLD-SCHOOL” attachment, not the really cool one, cause the the old one doesn’t do ravioli, like the new one! BUMMER FOR ME!!! But, I think I can use the lasagna noodle plate. We’ll see…
So I did a Google search for “homemade spinach ravioli recipe” and came up with…you guessed it…The Food Network…surprise!!! A recipe by Tyler Florence, which included the pasta recipe…the filling recipe…and the sauce recipe. PERFECT!!! But then, I realized that there was no way my husband would eat spinach ravioli, so I started searching for other fillings. I found an article titled “Top 5 Best Ravioli Fillings – Best Ravioli Recipe” which sounded perfect! They had a Ravioli Bolognese which combined ground beef with a cheese blend. But it called for tomato paste, but since I didn’t have any, and I didn’t think my hubs and son would miss it, I tweaked the recipe slightly!
Then…after a frustrating 2 hour trip to the grocery… I got home and realized that I forgot to buy a loaf of Italian bread, so… I decided to make my own…CRAZY? Yep!! But I had everything I needed…even the yeast! Oh and did I mention that for dessert, I would be making Tirimisu? No? Well, I did and it was probably the straw that broke the camels back! That’s a total of 5 recipes…pasta…filling…sauce…bread…tirimisu…add in 2 orthodontist appointments and we’re talking dinner at 8:00PM!! But…wouldn’t we have to wait that long for a table at Olive Garden?
Pasta Dough for Ravioli:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting Through my research and a trip down the “healthy food aisle” at the grocery, I found Semolina Flour, which is suppose to be SUPERB for hand-made pasta. So I used 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup Semolina.
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting I just used flour
Filling: I didn’t use this recipe…I made up my own…YES…I KNOW…IMPRESSIVE!!!!
• 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
• 2 (8-ounce) balls fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained and shredded
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• 2 cups fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
• 1 large egg
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Here’s my recipe for the Spinach & Cheese Filling
- 1 cup light ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
And here’s the recipe for the Ravioli Bolognese from Life123.com
- 1 lb ground beef, cooked I used organic-yes I’m on an organic kick
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste Umm, skipped this since its for the guys and they are anti-tomato
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese Light for me
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan fresh, of course! Wow I sound like a Parmesan snob..don’t I?
- 1 teaspoon dried basil I didn’t have dried so I used fresh…that’s backwards…usually I have 2 year old dried and not fresh
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder, this is my addition…just for kicks and giggles!
Sauce: This is similar to the sauce recipe I used in the Chicken Parmigiana, except I actually used the olives this time…SHHHH…don’t tell my family!!!
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 anchovy fillets skipped this one! EEEwww, not a fan!
• 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives Yep…I used them…but I bought whole with pits…so I had to work a little!
• 2 tablespoons capers, drained Don’t know what they taste like or why we should add them, but I did! Again, don’t tell the fam…
• 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
• 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand crushed I used organic
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the pasta dough:
- In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook*, combine the flour (and semolina) and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Drizzle in 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball.
- Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Now my KitchenAid mixer also will need the dough with the dough hook attached so I just let it do the work for me. I did a little kneading after, just because I thought I should.
- Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. I sprayed a bowl with olive oil Pam and flipped the dough around in the bowl so it was cover with oil.
- Cut the ball of dough in 1/2, cover and reserve the piece you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. oops, forgot that step…it got a little dry, but nothing I couldn’t fix!
- Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at widest setting. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue tightening until the machine is at the narrowest setting; the dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick (you should be able to see your hand through it.). Dust the sheets of dough with flour as needed. Well, since I was using my pasta maker attachment, I didn’t have to roll it out. I just put logs of dough into the opening on top and let the machine push it through the lasagna noodle plate. That was the plan…but unfortunately the lasagna plate doesn’t produce a solid piece of dough. It produces a strip that has little wholes in it, which wouldn’t matter for lasagna but it does for ravioli. You see the noodle must be solid or the filling will escape during the boiling process. So after doing a couple like this I resorted to the really old-school method of rolling it out by hand. OK, I’m not going to lie…this was a pain!!!! Once it was rolled out we used a pizza cutter and made our strips, then dropped teaspoons of filling and folded them over and sealed them with a little water. So it went pretty fast once the rolling was done! Might be investing in a pasta rolling machine.
- Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Dust the counter and sheet of dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta, and brush the top surface with the egg wash, which acts as a glue.
- Drop tablespoons of your favorite filling on 1/2 of the pasta sheet, about 2-inches apart.
- Fold the other 1/2 over the filling like a blanket.
- With an espresso cup or fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling. Use a sharp knife to cut each pillow into squares and crimp the 4 edges with the tins of a fork to make a tight seal.
- Dust the ravioli and a sheet pan with cornmeal to prevent the pasta from sticking and lay them out to dry slightly while assembling the rest. Our goal was to not confuse the meat filled and spinach filled ravioli.
- Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 4 minutes; they’ll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon.
- Bath the ravioli in your favorite sauce to lightly coat and serve.
To make the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring to incorporate. For the meat filling, I cooked the meat and then transferred it to the food processor and added the other ingredients and processed it slightly. For the spinach filling I just added everything to the processor and processed until the spinach was finely chopped and mixed in! SIMPLE!!!
To make the sauce: Coat a wide saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and anchovies; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives, capers, and hand torn basil. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir over low heat, until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. And then I had to process my sauce so that all the chunks were out of it! It is FABULOUS!!!!
So it was not an easy dinner to make, but it was VERY GOOD and that almost made up for the difficulty! And my family stopped yelling once I started throwing food in their mouths. Now, for my Italian bread and Tiramisu recipes check out my other posts here! Oh, and since I had a lot of both fillings left over, I came up with a creative use for it and we actually got a second dinner! Bonus!!!