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Spinach and Basil Pesto Ravioli

Thursday, June 09, 2016

[Recipe makes roughly 50 individual ravioli].

Today I finally had a day off where I had nothing planned.  I decided to take advantage of it by making something that was a bit more involved than my typical posts require.  This isn't to say that making ravioli is hard, but it does take some time and patience.

When deciding on the filling, I wanted something on the lighter side, so I started with spinach.  It needed some bright flavors, so I added basil, and immediately decided to turn it into a pesto with the addition of walnuts and Parmesan.  Add some ricotta and egg as binders and season with a few spices, and I had a pretty solid filling.

These can be served with a variety of sauces, but I ended up making a thin Alfredo sauce with additional sautéed mushrooms and porcini powder mixed in.  The final plate was topped with fresh basil leaves, additional grated Parmesan, a drizzle of truffle oil.

One final note to mention is that if 50 individual ravioli sounds like too much to cook at once, feel free to freeze half of them before boiling.  Once you're ready for them, just transfer the frozen ravioli from the freezer to the fridge one day in advance.

INGREDIENTS:

~1 pound fresh pasta dough

1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces crimini mushrooms
Unsalted butter, for sautéing

7 ounces whole milk ricotta
1/2 ounce Parmesan, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons basil paste (or pesto)
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 ounce walnuts, lightly toasted
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

egg yolk

DIRECTIONS:

Begin by sautéing the shallots and garlic in a skillet with a little butter until fragrant.  Remove from the pan and sauté the mushrooms, using additional butter as needed.  Season the mushrooms, and cool all of the sautéed vegetables together in the fridge.

Add the cooled vegetables to a food processor, as well as the ricotta, Parmesan, basil paste, spinach, walnuts, pepper, salt, red pepper, and nutmeg.  Pulse until everything is incorporated well.  Check for any additional seasonings, and then mix in the egg yolk when ready.

Divide your pasta dough into quarters, and shape the first quarter into a rectangle having the same width as the opening of your pasta machine.  Run the quarter sheet of pasta through the pasta machine, starting with the widest setting (#7 for mine), and ending on your desired pasta thickness (#3 for mine).  Dust a work surface with semolina flour and place your first sheet of pasta on top.  Scoop a line of filling on the top half of the dough (as pictured above), leaving a 3/4-inch gap on the top and sides.  [Side note:  The scoop that I used holds 1 1/2 teaspoons or 1/4 ounces].  Brush water around each dollop of filling, and carefully fold the bottom half of dough over the top half.  Start on one end and carefully press out any air surrounding the scoop of filling.  Use a shot glass (or similar-sized tool) to carefully crimp the dough surrounding the filling.  Cut away any excess dough, and then cut in-between the fillings to create individual ravioli.  Transfer to a sheet pan dusted with semolina flour and continue this process for the remaining ravioli.  [Side note:  While you're working on the remaining pasta, keep any finished ravioli in the fridge until you're ready to boil].

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Boil in batches for 3 minutes.  Drain using a fine-meshed sieve, and then transfer to a prepared sauce.  [Side note:  I recommend making an Alfredo sauce with additional sautéed mushrooms and porcini powder.  Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil].

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