Monday, January 31, 2011

Rad, Rad, Ravioli

Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli with Quick and Tasty Tomato Sauce
Every so often I get it in my head that I want to take the time to make homemade pasta. I will caution you now, this endeavor is a bit labor-intensive, but I promise well worth the effort. Before I had made my own pasta I was mystified by the process. For special (and sometimes not-so-special) occasions my mom would break out the pasta machine, clamp it to the edge of the counter, and roll out her own dough. I have particularly fond memories of "Pasta Uncle Al" and her unbeatable Beef Stroganoff. I honestly thought I could never make my own noodles, but a few years ago I figured, "What the heck? It's just a couple of eggs and some flour." To be honest, my first couple of experiments were not successful. The mistake? Not enough flour when I was rolling out the dough into sheets. Getting the texture just right might take a little trial and error, but it's not impossible. Little Italian ladies have been doing for generations . . . why can't we? Every since I cracked the "pasta code" I love making up ravioli fillings. This time around? I had a craving for something with tangy marinated artichoke hearts. The filling was excellent. If you're still intimidated by your own dough, try using wonton wrappers. I bought my pasta rolling machine at a Ross or T.J. Maxx for like $20. It's an inexpensive piece of kitchen equipment that will last forever. DO IT! You won't regret it.


- 2 c. flour, plus more for dusting
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 c. chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung dry
- 1 c. marinated artichoke hearts, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 c. chopped Italian parsley, divided
- 1/2 c. dry white wine

Combine flour, 4 eggs, and 1 tsp. salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture comes together and forms a sticky dough. Turn out on a well-floured surface and divide into four equal portions. Work with the dough, one portion at a time, working it through the pasta roller. Flour dough with each pass through the roller until the dough is rolled out to the 4 or 5 level of thinness.

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, grated Pecorino, oregano, 1/2 c. Italian parsley, artichoke hearts, spinach, and one egg. Stir to combine thoroughly and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one dough sheet on the bottom of a ravioli mold. Fill each space with 1 tsp. filling. Place the top sheet of dough on top and sandwich together with ravioli mold. Separate ravioli and set out on a wire rack while making and filling the additional ravioli. Bright a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, make tomato sauce. When water is at a boil, cook ravioli for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften and float to the top. Drain water and divide ravioli among four bowls.

In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil over medium. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until the garlic begins to turn fragrant. Add tomatoes, parsley, sugar, and white wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top ravioli with sauce and then top with additional Pecorino Romano. SO GOOD!

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