Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli with Sautéed Mushrooms

Homemade ravioli are delicate and flavourful showstoppers that lend themselves beautifully to a combination of seasonal fillings. Surprisingly easy to make, these little pillows are filled with a creamy mixture of spinach, ricotta, parmesan cheese and grated nutmeg, topped with a fragrant sautéed mushroom, garlic and butter sauce. Garnished with some fresh parsley and a handful of walnuts for extra texture, this dish is sensational served with a light salad, or as smaller portions for an elegant starter or primo.

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli with Sautéed Mushrooms
Serves 4

14 oz '00' flour, plus extra for dusting
3 medium eggs
semolina, for dusting, optional

Spinach & Ricotta Filling:
7 oz spinach, cooked in salted water and chopped
7 oz ricotta
1 oz grated parmesan
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mushroom Sauce:
16 oz crimini mushrooms, cleaned, timed and finely sliced
4 tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh ground black or white pepper, to taste
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1 cup walnuts, for garnish
Olive oil, for garnish, optional

For the pasta, pour the flour into a mound on a flat surface and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well and gradually mix with a fork. When the dough has become a thick paste, use your hands to incorporate more of the flour. Use any remaining flour while you knead the dough to stop it from sticking to the surface and to your hands, but be careful not to make the dough too dry. Knead until well blended and the dough is soft and flexible. Leave the pasta to rest for about 20 minutes covered in plastic wrap. Any leftover flour can be used for rolling out the pasta.

Meanwhile, mix the spinach, ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg in a large bowl, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Divide the fresh pasta into four portions, keeping it covered with plastic wrap to prevent the pasta from drying out. Take out one portion of the pasta and roll into a long, wide strip about 1/16 of an inch in thickness, either by hand or using a machine. When you can see your hand through the sheet of pasta, it's ready for stuffing; cut the strip in half.

Place teaspoons of the filling in a line down the centre of one of the strips about 2 inches apart. Place the other strip directly on top. Press the air out from around the filling by pushing down the pasta around them sealing them in. Using a small wine glass or serrated pasta wheel, roll or cut out circles or squares around each mound of filling. Repeat, until all of the filling is used up. Note: the ravioli can be cooked immediately or stored in fine semolina for up to two hours. They can also be frozen at this stage and then cooked from frozen at a later time. To cook, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and gently lower in the ravioli, cooking for about four minutes or until the pasta is soft but not floppy.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Heat the large non-stick sauté pan over medium high. Add the butter and once melted, add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes before stirring, then add the minced garlic and fresh pepper. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms are a golden brown, about 5 minutes more.

When the ravioli are cooked, drain and divide among 4 warmed plates. Spoon the mushroom sauce over each dish and garnish with chopped parsley and walnuts, and serve immediately. Drizzle with a little olive oil and extra parmesan, as desired.

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