Monday, 13 May 2013

Spinach and ricotta raviolis

Those spinach and ricotta raviolis at Meche evoked interest that I found strange: it's pasta which I claim I'm trying to avoid, vegetarian food which I'm never thrilled about and most importantly the key ingredient is cheese which I, in spite of all the recent attempts still can't bring myself to love.

But especially since the theme for Finnish foodbloggers' this month's food challenge is spinach I just had to make some! I'd never made pasta dough form scratch before but after those pelmenis I didn't really have an excuse not to try and learn it too...

The starting point was the recipe I memorized years ago: 1 large egg for each 100 g of 00-flour. That I probably picked up from Jamie Oliver who, when he first entered our TV screens in all that youthful giddiness, convinced me that making your own pasta is not only fun, but easy too. I'm not sure I agree with either one of those claims.  But it does serve as one hell of a workout. Especially if you attempt it without a food processor OR a pasta machine.  Pelmeni dough was a lot easier to make and to work with so next time I just might use that instead..

Initially I was toying with the idea of putting some spinach into the dough too to get that kind of vibrant green colour. But I still remember my brother's birthday from years ago (he's 22 now) when I got a little carried away with food colouring when making the cake. So the party consisted of crying kids, begging not to have to go anywhere near the cake...

This recipe gives you 32 raviolis. And a carpal tunnel syndrome.

Pasta dough:

300 g 00- flour
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp salt

Pour the flour and salt either on the work surface or into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, and pour the lightly beaten eggs in it. Start working from the center towards the edges, mixing and incorporating more flour into the mix little by little. Work into a smooth, elastic dough. It takes a bit of time and some serious elbow grease. Once you've reached the right consistency, cover it tightly with cling film and let rest in the fridge for at least half an hour. In the meanwhile make the filling.


250 g ricottaa
150 g spinach (I used frozen)
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of nutmeg
salt, pepper

If using frozen spinach, let it thaw and then drain well. If using fresh, wilt the leaves, chop finely and squeeze out any excess liquid. Mix with rest of the ingredients.

Divide the dough into 4, working with one portion at a time and keeping the rest covered with plastic. Roll thinly using either pasta machine (changing the setting each time so you're left with paperthin dough) or using a rolling pin, sweat and tears. Without the pasta machine the easiest way is to roll it into a long stick and then flattening it with the rolling pin until you have a long, thin strip. Spoon a teaspoon of filling onto the sheet with appr. 5 cm intervalls and brush some water around them. Then place the other sheet on top, press firmly around the filling to make sure there's no air and cut into desired shapes. I was feeling all springy so I used a cookie cutter to make flower-shaped raviolis. Keep the raviolis covered until ready to cook. Boil water in a big pot, season with salt and cook the raviolis in batches until the they surface - about 3 minutes. Toss in the butter sauce and serve with thyme and parmesan.

Butter sauce:

4 generous tbsp butter
1 large garlic clove
The zest of 1 lemon
(and a dash of the juice)
salt, pepper

Melt butter in a pan. Peel the garlic clove and bruise it a bit to make it release the flavours more. Peel the lemon using a peeling knife so you're left with thick strips. Place them both in the butter and let infuse the flavours for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the raviolis.

And this is our entry to the Finnish foodbloggers' monthly food challenge which this month is hosted by last month's worthy winner Keittiössä, kotona ja puutarhassa- blog. Stay tuned for instructions concerning when, where and how to vote!

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