Homemade Whole Wheat Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato-Pancetta Butter

A couple years ago, a group of friends and I went to a hands-on Viking Cooking School one-night class. It had to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had, but I may have been biased due to the complimentary wine they kept pouring in my glass while we cooked. This is everything we made/ate:

  • Marinated Roasted Red Peppers and Olives
  • Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato-Pancetta Butter
  • Veal Scaloppini with Prosciutto and Sage (Saltimbocca alla Romana)
  • Chocolate Gelato with Cherries rolled in Bittersweet Chocolate (Tartufo)
  • Sparkling Wine with Fresh Strawberry Puree (Rossinis)

Seriously, we ate all of that and I should’ve been rolled home.

Thankfully we were provided with all the recipes, because I have remade several of them already for various occasions or just for dinner again. Unfortunately, I had never fully recreated the ravioli (until now) because I lacked the tools necessary to do so. (I’ve been using frozen pre-made ravioli instead and just making the Tomato-Pancetta butter – which I welcome you to try if making homemade pasta isn’t up your alley.)

But guess what? I own the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Pasta Roller attachments now! Hooray!! So I decided to make these lovely things, but attempted them in whole wheat. Unfortunately the texture wasn’t quite right, but the saving grace is that they still tasted wonderful. I’m not sure anything stuffed with ricotta, Romano and spinach, covered in butter, sun-dried tomatoes and pancetta could ever be unpleasant.

If you’re lucky I may make more of the others recipes from that night and post them soon ;-).

PASTA DOUGH

Ingredients:

3 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for rolling dough (or all-purpose for the original recipe)

1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the eggs and oil to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt. While the machine is running, add the flour mixture through the feed tube. Process until the mixture holds together and forms a ball. (Note: If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of warm water and process briefly. If the dough is too sticky, remove it from the processor and knead it with just enough flour to make it smooth and elastic.)
  2. Remove the dough from the work bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Cut the pasta dough into fourths. Wrap three of the pieces in plastic wrap, then set aside until needed. Flatten the remaining piece into a rectangle, approximately the same width as the pasta machine rollers. Adjust the pasta machine rollers to their widest setting.
  4. Roll the rectangle of pasta through the rollers one time. Then, fold the rectangle into thirds and feed it through the rollers 6-8 more times, folding the dough into thirds each time. Dust lightly with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Tighten the rollers of the pastas machine one notch, and feed the dough through the rollers without folding. Continue to feed the dough through the rollers without folding, tightening the rollers one notch each time, until the pasta is the desired thickness.
  5. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining three pieces of dough. Allow the pasta sheets to dry for 5 minutes before filling.

RAVIOLI FILLING

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-10 oz. bag spinach, tough stems removed

Salt and black pepper, to taste

7.5 oz. ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1 pinch nutmeg

Directions:

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat; add the oil and heat through. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to sizzle, about 15-20 seconds. Then, add the spinach in large handfuls, stirring to wilt before adding more. Cook until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes; season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool completely.

When cool enough to handle, finely chop the spinach. Place the chopped spinach in the center of a large, square, dampened piece of cheesecloth folded double. Draw up the sides to form a pouch, then twist and squeeze to extract the excess moisture; transfer the chopped spinach to a medium bowl.

Stir in the ricotta cheese, egg, Pecorino Romano and nutmeg; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, the set aside until needed.

Using a ravioli form, lightly coat with nonstick spray and lay a sheet of pasta over it. Place the top of the form on the pasta sheet, pressing gently to make impressions for the filling. Remove the top of the form, and place 1 tablespoon of filling in each impression. Lightly moisten the border of the pasta sheet and in between the filling with water, using a pastry brush. Cover the filled impressions with a second sheet of dough. use a rolling pin to roll over the top of the form to cut and separate the ravioli. Push the finished ravioli out of the form. Transfer the ravioli to a flour-dusted baking sheet or a clean kitchen towel; let dry for 5-10 minutes. (Meanwhile, prepare butter – below)

Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and immediately stir to separate the individual pieces. Cook the ravioli, stirring once of twice during cooking, until al dente, about 2 minutes, or until they float. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon, then transfer to paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth to drain.

TOMATO-PANCETTA BUTTER

Ingredients:

3 oz thinly sliced pancetta (3/4 cup chopped)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced

1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the chopped pancetta in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat; cook until crisp and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined dish to drain; allow to cool to room temperature. (Meanwhile, cook the pasta – above)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all but 2 tablespoonfuls of the cooked pancetta with the butter, diced tomatoes and thyme. Season to taste with pepper, then set aside until needed. Reserve the remaining pancetta for garnish.
  3. Gently melt the tomato-pancetta butter. Place the cooked ravioli in a warmed serving bowl; pour the butter over the ravioli, and toss to coat. Garnish with grated Pecorino Romano, the reserved pancetta and the thyme sprigs; serve immediately.

Source: Viking Cooking School – Girl’s Night Out: In Rome

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