Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ricotta & Spinach Ravioli with Sage Butter

I learned to make ravioli and sage butter from Chef Steve Watts, after my first attempt ended up a squishy disaster and put me off making them for several years. They were effortless to make this time though, I think storing them individually and coating them with semolina was the best tip, and a firmer dough really helps. 
I wouldn't necessarily make these for a workday but they are a lovely weekend treat. They don't take too long to make and taste wonderful, but they are not particularly healthy!

I'm assuming that you've already made your pasta and that it's resting in the fridge. Ravioli is best made with slightly dryer, tougher pasta than my usual recipe. I used 2 eggs to 300g pasta and added a little water to bring it together. Kneaded it as much as I could until it had a texture not unlike cold blue-tack. This made a hearty dinner for 2 people, with enough left over to make tagliatelle to dry for later in the week.

Take a bag of spinach and cook through, using a mere suggestion of water to start them off; you want the leaves as dry as possible when they go into the filling. Once cooked, lay them out on a clean teatowel and pat dry.

Use a pair of scissors to cut the spinach into a bowl along with a pot of ricotta, lots of grated nutmeg, pepper and a small pinch of salt. Mix them up and that's the filling done. Try not to eat it all before it goes into the pasta.

Roll out your pasta sheets and pile a small teaspoon of the filling at regular intervals along each strip's length, placing them off-center, nearer the bottom edge. Dab your finger into a saucer of water and dampen the edges and in between the dots of filling, then fold the top half over the bottom half and firm down with the sides of your hands. Press down pretty firmly to make sure they are sealed, then cut into squares with a sharp knife. Sprinkle semolina over a clean tray, lay each ravioli out separately and sprinkle with more semolina.

When you're finished, boil up a huge pan of water and put a sizeable amount of salt in, then add the ravioli. They don't take long to do so keep an eye on them - when they're all floating at the top that's a good sign, a bit like gnocci. 

Put a nice, sizeable hunk of butter in a small pan and heat it up until it's bubbling away nicely, then add in a load of fresh sage leaves and cook until the butter is a lovely dark golden colour and the leaves are crispy.
Drain the ravioli out and lay on your plates. Use a spoon to drizzle the sage butter over the top, serve and then promise yourself you'll go to the gym in the morning.

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