Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Spinach Filling

Yes, folks, another homemade ravioli recipe!  And this one is a little different for a few reasons.  I have made shrimp and chive ravioli (not a good idea), three cheese ravioli, and spinach and ricotta ravioli.  All were made from semolina flour, like traditional ravioli, and they were rolled out using my pasta roller that Kaz gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  This recipe intrigued me for a few reasons: first, that it is made with regular flour, and second, that it is rolled out by hand rather than using a pasta roller machine.  I wanted to try it to see if raviolis could be satisfactorily made with "regular cook's materials."  Can you use regular flour?  Can you just use a rolling pin to roll it out?  And obviously anything filled with goat cheese is A-okay by me!

The pasta dough recipe calls for just flour, hot water, an egg, and salt.  It was very easy to make it.  It has to sit for an hour, but other than that it was quick to throw together.  Then the filling was just spinach, goat cheese, parmesan, a pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper.  I will confess due to a guilty conscience that I ended up having too much filling left after I used all the pasta, and I spread it on pieces of toast and devoured it (see picture below).  There.  I feel better now.

The pasta rolling experience was quite a workout.  It is a lot more work to roll with a rolling pin many, many times, than to run sheets of dough through a roller machine with a crank a few times.  But again, I wanted to just prove that it was possible to do it with laymen's tools!  I was sweaty and tired by the time I had semi-thin sheets of pasta (they were definitely not as thin as when I used the roller), but it certainly was possible to do it.  I did use my trusty old ravioli mold to fill the raviolis with that amazing goat cheesy filling!

The raviolis get boiled for 5 minutes, and then you're done!  Then I had to deal with the sauce.  The recipe recommends a mushroom and parmesan cream sauce, and I had even bought all the ingredients for this.  But (and this is the second or third time this has happened) after all the work it takes to make ravioli, I was too tired to work on making anything else.  I confess again to using just a jar of tomato sauce!

The end result was of course amazing.  There was no way any pasta stuffed with goat cheese would be bad.  Kenzie and my mom both said they actually preferred the raviolis a little bit thicker (thanks, rolling pin!) and they loved the filling.  I happily ate the leftovers for lunch during the week and they stayed delicious and reheated well.  This would be a great recipe to try if you are interested in trying to make your own pasta without the benefit of a pasta roller or semolina flour.  Yes, it is possible :)


ravioli with goat cheese and spinach filling
from Julia's Album
makes 12 - 18 raviolis

for ravioli dough:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
for ravioli filling:
1/3 cup cooked spinach (or 1/2 bunch raw spinach to be cooked)
2 ounces goat cheese
1/3 parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper


1) Mix flour with salt.

2) Stir water with egg until well mixed.

3) In a bowl, combine flour and egg-water mixture together and mix until well incorporated.  Knead the dough until well-textured and firm.  The dough should not be too wet or too sticky.  It should only stick to itself, but not to your hands.  It should not be too dry either.  Make the dough into a ball or disk, and wrap with plastic wrap.  Let the dough stand for 1 hour at room temperature before using.  This allows the gluten to work.

4) Meanwhile, make the filling.  Cook spinach until wilted and all liquid is gone.  It is very important that all liquid is evaporated.  Chop spinach.

5) Soften goat cheese by heating it up in microwave oven for about 5 - 10 seconds.  Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl: chopped spinach, goat cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Add a little bit of nutmeg to taste, and salt and pepper as well.  Set aside.  Your filling should not be runny; it needs to be firm.  You can refrigerate it to firm it up.

6)  Assemble ravioli: unwrap ravioli dough from plastic, and divide it in 2 equal parts.  Roll out each part of pasta dough very thinly on a floured surface.  Make sure to flour the upper portion of pasta dough and the roller to avoid sticking.  Lift the rolled dough several times during rolling to make sure it isn;t sticking, and flour working surface with more flour if necessary.

7) Flour the ravioli mold.  After you have rolled the 2 portions of dough very thinly, place first layer of dough on the ravioli mold so that it covers all 12 holes.

8) Place a small portion of ravioli filling into each indentation, making sure not to overfill.  The filling should be at the same level or lower as the flat part of the mold.  Place the second layer of pasta dough on top of filled ravioli.

9) Using a rolling pin, roll across the mold and along the edges to separate the ravioli.  By now you should have extra dough hanging off the outside 4 edges of the mold.  Carefully separate it.  Continue rolling the pin along the inside edge of the raviolis to separate them from one another.

10) Flip ravioli mold to release ravioli.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Boil ravioli for 5 minutes and drain.  Serve immediately, or place them on a plate of baking sheet in the freezer to freeze.  After they are frozen, place them in a plastic bag and keep frozen until needed.

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