My husband and I are old fuddy duddies. We prefer to stay in on New Years Eve, put the kids to bed, make a nice meal and try desperately to stay up until midnight. This year, we decided to have another cook-off to bring in the New Year and the challenge was pasta. My husband thinks he makes the best spaghetti around, and I will admit it is good, but he cheats. He uses premade meatballs, jarred pasta sauce and dried noodles (sorry to give away your secrets honey, but it’s true.) I thought I wanted to do ravioli and since he says he hates ravioli (not true) I knew the only way to get him to admit that my pasta was better was to make everything from scratch.
As always, his dish did turn out pretty good (see honey, I can give credit where credit is due) but mine was better. I mean, I did make everything from scratch. But I realized the recipe for the dough made a lot of raviolis and I knew I wasn’t going to eat them all that night-after all I had no chance to stay up to midnight if I was totally stuffed. So I froze half of the batch just to see if it was any good.
Well it worked. A few nights later I wanted something quick to make, filled with carbs and loaded with cheese and this hit the spot. Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook, and even freezing the fresh stuff only added about another 30 seconds to the cooking time. I actually really loved this, because after all the prep work was done, fresh pasta on the table in less than 15 minutes is a winner in my book-plus it just looked so pretty!
Spinach Ravioli Stuffed with Four Cheeses
1 bunch of fresh spinach, finely chopped (in the end, I probably had about 2 tablespoons after I chopped it all down)
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
½ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup shredded Italian cheese blend (I used parmesan, Asiago, Romano)
2-3 basil leaves, finely chopped
Tomato sauce for serving (I added some ground beef because I knew my husband wouldn’t “like” it without meat)
Combine the first seven ingredients in a food processor. Process until dough just forms into a ball.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed to keep it from sticking. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
While the dough is resting, combine the cheeses, egg, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Follow directions on your pasta roller to roll out sheets of dough for ravioli. I used my Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment and found that the fourth setting was the perfect thickness for the ravioli.
With your sheet of pasta dough laid out on a floured surface, place a teaspoon of filling across the dough, a few inches apart. Use a pastry brush to brush the other half of the dough with water and fold over the filling. Press around the filling to seal the edges. Using a ravioli cutter cut out the ravioli and place on a lined baking sheet.
At this point, you can freeze the ravioli for 30 minutes on the baking sheet or until it’s set, then place them in an airtight container in the freezer. I froze mine for a week and they tasted fresh, but I think they may keep for up to a month.
Alternately, if you are cooking the pasta right away, place individual ravioli into a pot of salted, boiling water, and being careful not to over crowd the pot. When the ravioli float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon.
Serve with tomato sauce and extra cheese.
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