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Chris Hennes

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

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I'm on a pasta kick this week, and have a few different stuffings planned. I don't know what's traditional in Italy, and am not necessarily looking for traditional recipes, but I'd like to do a filling based primarily around spinach (perhaps with some ricotta, though not necessarily). Any thoughts on what sort of proportions to use, or anyone have a recipe along those lines?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I do my stuffed shells with..spinach. or parsley ...ricotta ...shreadrd mozzarella.. nutmeg (goes well with ricotta)..sometimes I add pancetta. Possibly some sugar if you wish

S and P tt.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk


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I've used the filling recipe from Pamela Sheldon Johns's Parmigiano for spinach and ricotta "handkerchiefs" in ravioli and it's great. I don't see it online, but it's pretty standard (I think). One pound of spinach, steamed or sauteed and then squeezed dry, 1 cup ricotta, 2 oz. parmigiano, grated, one egg yolk. Seasoned with nutmeg, salt and pepper. You could use more spinach, I'm sure -- just be sure to get it as dry as possible.

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I probably make spinach and ricotta pasta once a week, although not always ravioli as it takes longer. But still... I use frozen spinach, and always have more ricotta (by weight) than spinach. Frozen spinach comes in 250g blocks, to which I would add about 300-350g ricotta. On top of that I would add a big spoonful of parmesan cheese, very generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. I used to add an egg but after a while I realised it didn't make much difference. And as Jaz says - I try to get as much water out of the spinach as possible, after it's defrosted.

I've had a look at many recipes for spinach and ricotta cannelloni and all the ones I found had roughly equal quantities of ricotta:spinach, or perhaps even more spinach. But personally I like it much creamier and would happily go to a 2:1 ratio of ricotta:spinach.

I've made it using fresh and even home-grown spinach but didn't weigh the spinach to see how much I used. One benefit of using the frozen stuff is that it's chopped really fine and so it doesn't clog up the piping bag nozzle!

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If you have a potato ricer, it works the best for getting out water in your spinach .. If you want a nutty flavor, you could use some asiago, instead of parm or mozz.

Paul


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Just wanted to chime in -- while I use frozen spinach when making spinach lasagna, for something more refined like ravioli, that won't be smothered in a bucket of sauce and cheese, I was amazed at how big a difference steaming fresh spinach made. I made this recipe from Martha Stewart for Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi, and while they fell apart as gnudi, when I put that filling inside of ravioli, it was fantastic.

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/spinach-and-ricotta-gnudi-with-sage-butter

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I probably make spinach and ricotta pasta once a week, although not always ravioli as it takes longer. But still... I use frozen spinach, and always have more ricotta (by weight) than spinach. Frozen spinach comes in 250g blocks, to which I would add about 300-350g ricotta. On top of that I would add a big spoonful of parmesan cheese, very generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. I used to add an egg but after a while I realised it didn't make much difference. And as Jaz says - I try to get as much water out of the spinach as possible, after it's defrosted.

This is close to same recipe my Nana taught me, except she always adds egg so I always add egg. She never measured anything, it was by eye to see how much spinach flecks were in the cheese. I've also used fresh spinach, bagged baby spinach, spinach from my garden, even swiss chard once...for me frozen spinach is still the best option as long as you really squeeze the water out of it first.



I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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I nearly always use fresh spinach... no real reason, it's just what I do.I'm wondering about your thoughts on the balance of components in these ravioli. Most recipes seem to include a LOT of ricotta, with just a bit of spinach, but what I am imagining here is the reverse: mostly a spinach filling, with some cheese or whatever as a "binder." Do you think this will even work, taste-wise, or is the more-cheese-than-spinach the best route to go?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I found Martha's Gnudi recipe to have a fairly high spinach to cheese ratio, and if you look at the picture that accompanies the recipe, you can see that they are dominantly green... So I don't think a mostly spinach mix is a problem, and can in fact be delicious!

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I've had spinach ravioli with no ricotta, they were good but a bit one-dimensional. I like Paul's idea for using pancetta for extra flavor. Another option: I'll bet the spinach-mint ricotta mixture that's used in Dorie Greenspan's Corsican spinach and mint gnocci would make a tasty ravioli filling.



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I'd like to add my 2 euro's worth. Pancetta - no, no, no. :biggrin:

The beauty of Spinach and Ricotta ravioli is in the balance - meat is absolutely not necessary. I abhor the tendency to add extra ingredients (normally some pig based product!) to every classic Italian recipe.

Half the reason Italian cuisine is so good is that they know when to stop adding excess ingredients - the mark of a good chef in my opinion. A classic ratio would be 200g spinach / 100g ricotta / 50g parmesan (if liked). Nutmeg would be (sparingly) used.

If you really want to use your pancetta, try it with cavolo nero in ravioli - truly good.

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If you really want to use your pancetta, try it with cavolo nero in ravioli - truly good.

I'll give it a try.. would you cook the Cavolo nero.. as with fresh spinich? Cook in Pancetta fat ?.. possibly a bit of wine to deglaze.. Then are you using any cheeses?

Cheers

Paul


Its good to have Morels

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I think you do need that balance of cheese and spinach. Too much spinach would blow away the creaminess of the ricotta. I still think that earlier recipe of 250g spinach 300-350 ricotta is a good place to start. Maybe even 50-50, but not more spinach than ricotta. It doesn't feel right.

For the pancetta discussion, why not make the ravioli without it and then make a sauce kind of like carbonara. Keep the fat and porky flavor on the outside. The two different types of creamy playing off of each other.



I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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Hi Paul,

Here's the recipe I use (from the River Cafe). Cooking the cavolo in the pancetta fat would be an excellent idea!

1kg Cavolo Nero

S+P

100g butter

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

250g pancetta cut into matchsticks

250g fresh ricotta cheese

Nutmeg to taste, freshly grated

100g parmesan freshly grated

Cut the leaves of the Cavolo Nero from their stalks and blanch drain and roughly chop.

Finely chop about 150g of the stalks (the whiter the stalk the more tender) and blanch them separately in boiling salted water.

Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft and beginning to colour. Add the blanched stalks and the pancetta and cook together for a few minutes just long enough for the pancetta to become translucent but not crisp.

The pancetta flavour should blend together with the onion and stalks.

Season then add the cavolo nero leaves and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool.

In a large bowl break up the ricotta using a fork.

Season with nutmeg sea salt and black pepper.

Add half the cooled chard mixture and stir together lightly.

Add the Parmesan and the remainder of the chard and fold together.

The mixture should not be at all wet; if it seems so add a little extra parmesan.

Taste for seasoning and ensure that the mixture is completely cold before making the ravioli.

Makes about 50

These are great with sage butter.

I hope you give these a try. They're very good.

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Thanks Joesan,

Now to find the real stuff.. not sure if WF has it ( Cavolo nero ). Otherwise.. I have seen it at some of our farmers markets, but those days will have to wait.

Caio


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Chris,

I was messing around with this filling material, ricotta, spinach, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese. I noticed that even if i tried to chop the frozen squeezed spinach, it didn't chop well.. so I added Parmesan cheese to the spinach which help dry it up, allowing the mixture to separate better and blends nicely with the ricotta.

Cheers


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

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Funny, I just made ravioli for lunch before stopping by to see what's going on in eGworld.

Maybe try making the pasta a spinach pasta and not adding spinach into the filling, and instead use some sort of cured pork (along with the cheese), as has been mentioned; That's actually what I tried this afternoon and it worked pretty well as something a little different for me. Chopped "Sun-dried" tomatoes and some olive oil to dress ...


Edited by Rico (log)

 

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