Ravioli – Stuffed Pasta

Ravioli_Header

Well, finally comes the post that I had been longing to write for our blog – The quintessential spinach and cheese ravioli without eggs. Ravioli is Italian stuffed pasta which is made by pressing interesting fillings between the thin pasta dough layers, creating a pillow like casing! The fluffy delicate pasta pillows can be served along with any kind of pasta sauce or can even be sauteed in just butter & herbs!
I clearly remember tasting Ravioli for the first time at the famous The Big Chill Cafe at New Delhi, India. Spinach Ravioli in creamy Parmesan Sauce is item 121 on Big Chill’s endless menu! The restaurant has a number associated with every dish.  People, like me, who are a regular there, just order by the number associated with their favorite dish. Believe me, I really look forward to go there in a large group to be able to taste something other than what I always order, as I can’t do without having my 121(or 124) and 196! 🙂
The idea of stuffing the pasta really intrigued me and I tried this recipe thrice, two times with just a handful of dough to be sure that it doesn’t give a raw or chewy pasta taste but once I was convinced, I cooked it as a complete meal!

The Pasta Dough

Pasta  dough traditionally is made using eggs but we tried the eggless version and it tasted just as right. The taste of the final product really depends on kind of  olive oil and cheese you use. The more authentic Italian they are, the better your Ravioli would come out.

Ingredients:  
Dough
White flour 1 cup
Semolina ( very fine) 1 tbsp (optional, it helps in binding the dough better)
Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Pinch of salt
Luke Warm Water- To knead
 
Method:
1. Mix flour, semolina and salt in a  large mixing bowl, making a well in the center. [The semolina we used was more fine than granulated sugar]
2. Add oil in the well and slowly keep adding water while mixing it using a fork, incorporating only a little flour mixture at a time so it mixes smoothly and evenly. Patience pays here, the more patient you are in this step the better the dough will turn out.
3. Once it gets a little stiff dough consistency, continue kneading by hand for about 10 minutes. You may grease your hand a little to avoid dough sticking to it.
4. Let it stand for a 25-30 mins covered with a wet towel.
5. Knead the dough couple times until it is smooth and just a little sticky.

The Filling

Ingredients:
Raw Spinach leaves – 200 grams  Filling_Ravioli
Garlic – one fat clove (minced)
Pine Nuts or Walnuts- handful (chopped)
Butter – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Ricotta Cheese – 50 gms ( you may use Cream cheese if you do not find Ricotta,  it should be softened at room temperature) 
Pepper and Nutmeg Powder – a pinch each ( seasoning)
 
Method:
1. Put water to boil in a deep pan, add spinach leaves. Boil for 2-3 mins, strain. Finely chop the boiled spinach, once it cools down.
2.In a saute pan, add butter, garlic, nuts and let them lightly roast.  Add chopped spinach , salt and let the water evaporate. Turn off the heat and let it cool down. 
3. In a mixing bowl, add the cooled mixture from Step 2 along with Cheese (softened at room temperature) and fold in lightly. Add Pepper and Nutmeg Powder to season the filling and refrigerate till you roll out the pasta dough. ( at least 15 mins)
 
Stuffing the Ravioli

Here comes the most interesting (and the trickiest) part.  Traditionally, thin pasta sheets are rolled out using the pasta machine that ensures that the sheets are evenly thin and smooth. But, at 156, Hungerlane, we aim to create recipes with commonly available tools. 🙂 So, the good ol’ rolling pin ( belan) comes in handy.  You just need a large plain surface to roll long pasta sheets to save yourself from the trouble of rolling the dough individually for every Ravioli you make.

Directions:
1. I dusted some flour on my clean table top and started rolling the dough as thin as possible. You may divide the dough into smaller portions to manage the space.
2.Cut long and broad strips of dough using knife, you may use ruler if you wish to be very precise ( Frankly, I am not that patient!)
3. Put small portions of filling roughly 3 inches apart near one edge of the rectangular sheet.  Fold the other end of the rectangular sheet over and firmly press using your fingers to shape the pasta crescents. You may brush milk to seal the edges and cut the pillows.

RollnStuff

Being a hopeless romantic, I used my heart-shaped cookie cutter to make heart-shaped Ravioli. This makes for a romantic valentines day or anniversary meal.  Dust the Ravioli with Flour as they rest so they don’t stick to the platter or  with each other.
4.  Put Ravioli in salted boiling water for less a minute and a half and strain ( Note:  The fresh pasta takes very less time to cook than the dry pasta so ensure that you do not over-boil your ravioli. Also, this step should be done right before you wish to serve the Ravioli) 

HeartRavioliBoilRavioli

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Serving Suggestion: You may either saute’ the ravioli in butter and herbs ( sage , oregano etc.) and serve them as it is  or choose your favorite pasta sauce to accompany it. I generally like the cream cheese sauce, but this time I used the Arabiatta sauce. Tomatoes , garlic, fresh basil and onions tossed in olive oil,  and ground into a thick paste ! Add salt, pepper and your seasonings, to make this easy breezy pasta sauce. 
Serve, the Ravioli hot. The crunch from the nuts would be a great surprise when you bite into the delicate ravioli pillows with cream and spinach gently melting in your mouth! 🙂 

Ravioli_Hungerlane

 The Spinach and Cheese is one of the most yet delicious filling in any savory Ravioli.  You can just sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on  the top of your Ravioli and serve it piping hot!
SideView_Ravioli
 Well, my post to the savory Ravioli ends here, I really hope you like it.  But, along with this post, we would like to introduce our first guest blogger Nitya who is not only an avid foodie and a brilliant cook but also a very dear friend.  Nitya wrote to us with a little sweet variation to the traditional Ravioli Recipe. We have not tried it as yet, but the recipe sounds brilliant!  She gave her pear ravioli pockets a very unconventional and cute shape ( I call it pear shape! :)) . So, here goes Nitya’s Recipe:
Nitya_hungerlane_1
  We would really like to Thank Nitya to take out time and write to us!  In a way, she completed this post by giving a sweet variation to our otherwise savory Ravioli post! 
 
We really hope this encourages other foodies to share back with us! 
 
Keep cooking, eating and sharing!
Cheers,
 
Rashi
 
 
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Categories: Eggless, Entree, Italian, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Ravioli – Stuffed Pasta

  1. Dude ….. i followed every word of the recipe shared by your guys and the “Raviolli” turned out to be awesome … made some 4 batches of 8 ravilllo each and all got Wipped out …. I made 2 different sauces – Used Ricotta cheese to make Cream sauce .. bu adding butter and oil in a pan with a little of Oregano and salt for seasoning n flavor. Made another version of Arabitta sauce by grinding lots of Jalapenos, tomato and Piri Piri together ( turned out to be spicy n tangy :)) heated with Ricotta cheese ; butter n olive oil … Loved cooking it man !! thank you so much for starting this blog 🙂

  2. Thanks a lot Nidhi for your culinary experiments with our recipe and sharing them back with us! Frankly, while writing this Ravioli Recipe , I wasn’t quite sure if someone would have patience to try it! But we are kicked about your feedback and enthusiasm! Would really love to see pics of what you tried and even share them with our fellow foodies! Let us know..Keep Cooking and Sharing Sweety!
    Cheers!
    Rashi

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