Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom Pomodoro Cream Sauce

Apologies for the weird lighting and the messy plate, but this was really good

Ingredients

  Pasta Dough:
    3 1/2 cups of flour (I used all purpose, I couldn't find semolina or Tipo 00 flour in markets)
    5 Large eggs (Pinas size Large eggs = Medium sized US)
    Additional flour for kneading and rolling out the pasta (around 3 more cups)
 
  Spinach Filling:
    1 can spinach (Del Monte has it)
    5 cloves garlic, minced fine
    2 T olive oil
    1 cup grated Queso de Bola (Edam cheese if you will :-) best to use Parmesan, but work with what you have)
    1 egg for binding
    S&P to taste

   Pomodoro Cream Sauce:
    1 Large can of stewed tomatoes
    1 cup chopped mushrooms
    1 5 cloves garlic, minced fine
    1 medium onion, minced fine
    1 t sugar
    2 small boxes of cream (around 1 1/2 cups)
    S&P to taste


Instructions:
  
   Pasta Dough:


   Put the dough into a bowl, and make a well.  Add all the eggs in the middle.
   If you don't have a mixer, get a fork and slowly incorporate the flour from the sides
   When all the egg is incorporated, it's going to look like a whole lot of small lumps.
   Start smashing them together getting all the left over flour in the bowl. 
   When all the flour is gone from the bottom of the bowl, gather all the dough and dump into a floured board. 
   Start kneading by pushing the dough with the bottom of your palm and turning it onto itself.
   Knead until it comes together, then roll into a ball (around 5 minutes)
   Put plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

   When I was in cooking class, the chef said that the dough must resemble your bald uncles head when finished, meaning it should be really smooth (I don't think I got there, as you can see above, so I'll try and get there next time)

   Spinach Filling:
  
    Drain the spinach from the can.  If you have fresh spinach, you need to cook it first, chop then drain. 
    Saute the garlic in olive oil and add the spinach.
    Salt and Pepper to taste. Don't add too much salt as you'll get it from the cheese.
    While it's still warm, add all of the cheese.
    Let it cool a bit then add the egg.  Mix well.

   Pomodoro Cream Sauce:
    Saute the garlic and onion in the Olive oil.
    Add the canned tomatoes.  Let this boil for about 5 minutes, making sure to mash the tomatoes to make the sauce thicker. 
    Add the sugar (you can add more than one teaspoon, if you like, but don't overdo it)
    Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
    Add the mushrooms and let simmer for another 5 minutes
    Add all the cream and let boil.  I know, I know, Boil the cream? It's going to curdle!! Seriously, boil it.  Just let it curdle and boil it to death until it becomes a little thicker (around 10 minutes)
  
    Start cooking the Pomodoro sauce when your already cooking the ravioli so that they get cooked at the same time.

   Ravioli:
   
     Get the rolled pasta dough and cut into four pieces.  Roll it again to make a small ball.
    
The bald uncle state
Flatten the dough with your hands or roll it out with a rolling pin, until it's a half an inch in diameter.


Feed through the pasta machine starting at the first setting, then fold both sides to the middle and let it go through #1 again. 



Then continue on rolling it through the machine, letting it go through each number until #9, 3 times.



You will have to cut the dough into 2 pieces when you get to the 4th setting as it's going to be too long, so just process each one until you get to #9.

You don't have to have a pasta machine to do this, the first time I did hand made pasta was years ago when I was in high school and I did it old school with a rolling pin.  (No it was not successful the first time, but it gets better).  To know when you've reached the texture similar to number 9, if you place the dough against the light and can see your fingers, you're good to go :-)

After rolling out both pieces place the filling on one side.  Line the edges and the middle with water to use as glue for the top and bottom parts.  Then carefully place the other dough on top and start forming the ravioli.  This batch is too big, so when you make yours, make them only an inch in size.  It gets a lot bigger after cooking.

Soldiers all in line

Boil water then drop the ravioli one at a time.  When it floats, transfer to another container. 

Ahh, nice hot bath to soothe the soul
After all are cooked, dump it all in the sauce you just made, to let it cook further.  It took about 15 minutes more since the pasta I made was too thick. 

Hot delicious mess
Next time, after #9 which is the last setting, I'll let it go through my rolling pin 1 more time.  The pasta when stuck together was really too thick. 

Overall this was a very very good vegetarian dish.  The sauce, though meat-free, actually tasted like a meat sauce.  Most likely it was the mushrooms (I used dried mushrooms reconstituted in boiling water) that gave it body, as well as the cream.    You can also add ricotta cheese to the spinach mixture.  But make sure the mixture is already cold before adding the ricotta cheese so that it does not melt into the mixture, but in your mouth.

Hand made pasta is not an easy thing to do, and the only reason I do it is for squid ink pasta for Frutti di Mare and this one :-)  If it isn't that special, I'll buy it from the market, but overall it really is satisfying to do :-)

If you're not inclined to make the ravioli, just try the sauce out, it's good enough with just plain pasta.

1 comment: