Ravioli with spinach and ricotta

Making your own pasta is not as hard as you might think. You don't really need to own a pasta machine but you can get them for as little as around £20. And the only ingredients are flour and eggs! This is the recipe I've used for years and it's very straight forward and simple. If you don't have the pasta flour, you can just use plain flour. And if you want a really rich pasta you should use only the egg yolks and not the white. But you will have to use more then five.

I know that many of you are familiar with pasta filled with spinach and ricotta but I add a few things that take it to another level. The most important ingredients are the pine nuts. They really add a nice depth to the filling and the parsley makes it nice and fresh. And instead of the classic butter and sage sauce I add a little lemon which changes the sauce completely!

When you've made your own pasta, it is so tasty that you don't need a complicated sauce and could even get away with just heating olive oil in a pan, adding a little garlic and chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon. Grate over some parmesan and that's it! But you can, of course, make something more rich like a bolognese or what ever you fancy, it will always taste nice :)

I sometimes only make spaghetti or something simple but making ravioli is both fun and super tasty! And the added bonus is that my kids love helping me which means they love eating it as well :)

This pasta recipe is quite big so if you finish the filling and still have some pasta dough left you can make what ever pasta shape you like from what's left over. If you don't plan on using it straight away you can dry it and use it later.

Pasta

150 gr plain flour

350 gr Typo "00" flour

5 large eggs

I like using my electric mixer and let that do all the hard work but you can also just knead this with your hands. It really needs a lot of kneading because if you don't do that you will have soft pasta and not stiff and al dente. So get all the ingredients into an electric mixer, food processor or just the tabletop and start kneading. You should end up with a smooth dough. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour before making your pasta shapes.

Pasta filling

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

250 gr ricotta cheese

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

salt and pepper

Finely chop the spinach and parsley and mix in with all the other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper and put to one side.

Roll out the pasta on a fine setting if you have a pasta machine or as fine as you possibly can with a rolling pin. Spread out on a floured surface and put 1 teaspoon of the filling with around 2-3 cm spacing in between. Brush with water and put another layer of pasta on top and close it as tightly as you can, making sure there is no air inside it. If any air gets left inside the pasta parcels might burst while they cook in the boiling water. Cut them into what ever shape you like. You can make circles or do what I do and cut them into squares. In my opinion homemade pasta (or any homemade food for that matter) should look homemade! When you put all that hard work into making the food it should look like it, not like you bought it at the supermarket.

Cook the pasta in big pan of salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes.

Sauce

70 gr butter

handful sage leaves

1/2 lemon

pasta water

parmesan

Put the butter and sage leaves in a pan and melt the butter over medium heat. You want to take the butter almost up until it burns. So you need to be careful and make sure it goes brown and starts to smell a bit "nutty" and don't go any further then that. Once you reach that point, remove from the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice and give it a splash of pasta water, only a couple of tablespoons or so. Grate in a little parmesan and give this a good mix. Add the pasta straight from the water into the sauce and serve with a generous grating of parmesan cheese.


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