I wanted to make irresistible ravioli to rival any stuffed pasta experience I’ve ever had living in Italy for the past three years. The classic spinach and ricotta is delicious… but sometimes I feel the texture of the whole meal is rather one dimensional. It’s all a little soft and tame. So I decided to cook the ravioli once in the salted water and then toss the little bundles of SCRUMPTIOUSNESS into a pan with pancetta, toasted pine nuts and pomodorini, making the outside ridiculously rustic and slightly crisp, while inside remains a soft creamy ricotta and spinach paradise. As you know from my wholemeal pizza, my salads or my olive oil and wholewheat baked treats, I’m constantly in search of ways to make Mediterranean recipes even more nutritious… this is basically so I can justify feasting EVERY SINGE DAY OF THE YEAR. Be warned though, using wholemeal flour will make your ravioli heavier, therefore you really have to put some muscle into rolling it out super thin but not so thin that you end up with burst pasta packages, a sad spinach soup and floating pasta debris. #beenthere
* TIPS FOR AVOIDING TRAGIC RAVIOLI SELF-COMBUSTION
* If it’s your first time making pasta from scratch layer your work surface with a big sheet of grease proof paper and place another sheet on top of the pasta dough so that you can roll without fearing that your hands and rolling pins will stick.
* Only work with half or a quarter of your total dough at one time. Don’t let the remaining dough dry out as it sits around waiting for you to stop cursing and crying over the sticky rolling pin. Keep the rest in cling film in the fridge.
* Treat each little raviolo with love. You’ve gone to the trouble of bringing this little fellow to life – don’t get lazy at the final stage and rush the part where you carefully press the edges together. Also, when they’re ready to take the leap into the pot, lower each one in on a large spoon instead of plopping them in with gay abandon. Trust me. Years ago when I first started making ravioli I got overzealous and made this mistake.
Pasta Dough Ingredients:
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup 00 pasta flour (if you’re dubious about going brown or want a lighter pasta, use half and half as listed otherwise you could use all wholmeal flour)
2 teaspoons sea salt
(fresh basil leaves optional)
200g spinach leaves
60g chopped pancetta
100g ricotta or philadelphia soft cream cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes
additional 60g chopped pancetta
fresh basil leaves to garnish
YOU-CAN-DO-IT DOUGH FOR DUMMIES:
(DON’T BE SCARED. IF I CAN DO THIS, YOU CAN.)
1. In a large bowl mix your flours and salt.
2. Beat your eggs lightly in a glass.
3. Make a well in your flour mountain and pour the egg mixture in. (At this point you can add chopped fresh basil as I have done but I do it more for presentation than taste as the basil is inevitably upstaged by the other flavours.) Work it into a big sticky mass with your hands.
4. Knead vigorously to bring it all together into a ball.
5. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for AT LEAST 30 minutes to let the dough rest.
6. Break off a quarter of your dough, leaving the rest covered in the fridge.
7. Knead again and then roll out as thin as you can with a rolling pin (or a wine bottle!) into a long strip the width of two ravioli.
8. Spoon your filling down half the strip – err on the side of caution (and explosion-free ravioli) and under-fill your ravioli even if it seems ungenerous.
9. Brush around the filling with a damp pastry brush (or just dip your finger in water to moisten the border of the ravioli). This will prepare it for its destined union with the top layer of pasta.
10. Cut the remaining half of the strip and lay it over the little filling balls. Press it down pushing out any air bubbles so those babies are tight and compact.
11. When I cut out each individual raviolo I tend to cut quite close to the filling so you don’t have to chew through a big boring border of pasta before getting to the filling. Only try this if you’re confident that the layers are well joined and that they won’t even consider parting ways later in the pot.
12. Give your little creations room to dance. Fill a LARGE pot with water. Salt well. Bring to the boil. Lower each raviolo in one at a time.
13. They should take 5 minutes to cook but it really depends on how successful you were back at step 6. Best to pull one out to taste before draining all of them.
14. Throw into your your frying pan with the sauce (sauce method below) to crisp up the outside and coat them in salty deliciousness!
15. Top with grated Parmesan and basil leaves and DEVOUR.
THE FABULOUS FILLING:
1. In a small saucepan wilt your spinach leaves by cooking them on a low heat with a 1/4 cup of water. Drain and then VERY IMPORTANT – squeeze the bejesus out of that spinach and then pat dry with paper towels. Excess water in your spinach is going to RUIN YOUR RAVIOLI. Are you listening? Do not underestimate spinach’s cunning ability to sneak in excess liquid.
2. Fry off pancetta until crispy. Remove from pan to cool.
3. In a small bowl mix spinach, ricotta/cream cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest, grated Parmesan, beaten egg, cooled pancetta. That’s it! You’re done!
THE SEXIEST SAUCE IN THE HISTORY OF SAUCES:
1. Start by browning off your pine nuts in a frying pan. You can chop those cherry tomatoes in half while waiting but DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF YOUR NUTS as there’s a millisecond between ‘Almost Golden’ and ‘Dammit They’re Black!’.
2. Set your golden nuts aside and throw in the pancetta. It shouldn’t need olive oil but you can lubricate the pan with a dash if it makes you feel safer. We’re looking for crunchy sexy bites of saltiness. Don’t stop frying if they still look pink and ham-like. That’s called an EPIC PANCETTA FAIL.
3. While your little tomato halves are waiting for this to happen you can season them on the chopping board with a bit of salt to bring out their flavour. Then add them to the crispy pancetta and throw the nuts back in as well. The tomatoes will get more cooking when the pasta is added later so they only need to heat through – you don’t want to fry them so much they lose their shape. Don’t be tempted to add basil at this stage while the pan’s on the heat because it will wilt in seconds.
Gosh, Kylie… this is a LONG recipe. Can I be bothered?
Yes, you can. I’m not a professional and I knocked this up in a couple of hours. While your dough is refrigerating you can be making your filling. While your ravioli are cooking you can be making the sauce. Okay… I admit that maybe seeing as I don’t work in an office and I’m doing stuff like this I’m a bit better placed to devote time to homemade pasta… BUT… the pride and euphoria you will feel when you bite into these buonissimi ravioli and think MAMMA MIA, I MADE ALL OF YOU GUYS FROM SCRATCH is unbeatable (your precise reaction may resemble mine in the photo below). You might cry. If you’re making them for a lover they might just propose marriage mid-raviolo… it’s a high possibility.
And if you love homemade pasta, you’ll get a laugh and a bit of inspiration from the vintage video Patrick and I did last month.
I wish you luck and feel free to ask me any questions if you’re ravioli-reticent. 😉