Ravioli con Spinaci

Ravioli stuffed with spinach & ricotta

Although pasta is not as much a speciality in Tuscany as it is in Emilia-Romagna, it is still very popular. This recipe is one of the best Tuscan ways of serving fresh pasta, but the same ingredients for the dough may also be used to produce tagliatelle or pappardelle.

Ingredients

    Pasta Ingredients

  • 11-13 oz/300-375 g plain unbleached flour
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt

    Stuffing

  • lb/1.2 kg fresh spinach (or nettles) washed well
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 12 oz/350 g ricotta cheese

Method

  1. First make the stuffing. Wash the spinach and put it into a saucepan with just the water that clings to the leaves. Add the salt. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain, squeeze out moisture and chop very finely. Mix together with the other ingredients & salt to taste.
  2. To make the pasta sift the flour with the salt on to a wooden table. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the yolks, beaten lightly together with a fork. With your hand start stirring in flour from inside the well until the eggs are no longer liquid, and continue to work in until the eggs have absorbed as much flour as possible without losing pliability.
  3. Wash your hands, clean the work surface of flour & knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is a shiny flexible ball. Fold it over and turn it continuously as you knead it. Leave, covered for about 10 minutes.
  4. At this point you can use a pasta machine to do the final rolling out. Otherwise divide dough in two to make it easier to handle. Always keep unused dough covered. Rub some oil into a long thin rolling pin (24-30 in/60-75 cm long and 2 in/5 cm diameter is a good size) & then dust with flour. On a floured surface begin to roll the dough out as quickly as possible into a regular oval shape. Roll it smoothly away from you & turn it after each roll. As it gets thinner, occasionally wrap the sheet of pasta, around a rolling pin and stretch towards you. When paper thin, fold loosely, cover & repeat the process with the other half.
  5. Lay one sheet on a floured surface, cut into an even rectangular shape & place small teaspoonfuls of spinach, filling approximately in/4 cm apart in straight rows. Between rows brush water, lay the other sheet of dough on top & with the side of the hand press firmly down between rows to seal. Cut into squares with a pastry cutter and place on greaseproof paper, cover.
  6. Boil 8 pints/4.5 litres of water with 1 tbsp oil & a tsp of salt. Add the pasta and about 5 minutes after the water has returned to the boil remove the ravioli, which should be cooked al dente. Serve immediately with butter and grated cheese or with butter in which you have fried 6-8 leaves of sage.