Sunday Pasta ® Recipe: Ravioli di Spinaci al Burro e Salvia (Butter and Sage)
A penny for your thoughts. That’s right. It’s time for a little pillow talk, Italian style. And since any and all Italian conversations invariably lead back to food, let’s talk about the delicious, soft pillows that are ravioli.
A ravioli by any other name would taste as sweet… Although the term ravioli is used broadly for stuffed pasta, the many names, shapes, and sizes change regionally. And so you need to navigate from agnolotti to anolini, from panzeroti to tortelli. It all depends on the locale, and then the filling and the shape … and of course, pride and popularity.
The ravioli in the photograph are ravioli a mezzaluna (half-moon), and are filled with ricotta and spinach, served in a butter sage sauce. To be sure, you can buy decent ravioli at a good Italian market. Or you can spend a few hours making spectacular ravioli at home. I recruited my family and made a party out of it.
For the filling:
Cook the spinach (boil or steam), drain it well (by pressing the liquid out of it) and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, beat the ricotta for a minute or so with a spoon. Add in the eggs and then the cheese. Mix in the spinach and salt and pepper to taste.
For the pasta:
Make a mound with the flour, plus a pinch of salt. Then make a well in the middle in which to put the eggs. Beat the eggs with a fork and then slowly use the fork to incorporate the flour. Once the eggs are absorbed, use your hands to knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. (Of course, you can use a kitchen mixer with a knead attachment to accomplish the foregoing.) Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and set aside for 20 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4-6 pieces of equal size, but use only one piece at a time (leaving the remaining dough wrapped in plastic). If you are doing this the old fashion way, with a rolling pin, then roll it out, fold it back several times, and continue this process until thin. Alternatively, pass it through a pasta machine until thin (or until it goes through the second thinnest setting at least twice). Take the sheet, and using a cookie cutter or glass of about 2 inches in diameter, cut the pasta into circles. Immediately, spoon in the filling, and fold in half. Seal with fingers or a fork. Repeat this process until all of the dough and filling are used.
Heat the butter in a skillet, add the sage and cook until the butter browns.
Cook the ravioli for a few minutes in rapidly boiling salted water. Remove them to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Pour the butter and sage sauce over the ravioli, and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.
*If you use premade ravioli, total time is less than 30 minutes
Ed Garrubbo, Editor