Brace yourselves, because this dish is not for the faint of heart. This is the kind of meal where, when it’s completed and your guests take that first bite and instantly get that “damn this is freaking good” face, you just want to drop your imaginary mic and coolly walk away. It’s a long process, but the taste – and the look on your guests’ faces – is totally worth it. Yes, you made homemade ravioli. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, they can have the recipe.
Let them have the recipe – let them ask how this amazing meal ended up before them – and their impressed looks will turn into ones of admiration. You did all that? You? They’ll tell you never mind. They’ll tell you that you can keep the damn recipe. They’ll also tell you that they want to be invited over the next time you make it again – and they’ll promise to bring a nicer bottle of wine over whenever that might be. Next week, maybe?
Yes, this recipe isn’t an easy one. It requires a lot of kneading, finesse with a pasta machine, and expert skill in the realm of ravioli stuffing. It also requires good time management and, well, lots of time. Kneading, finesse, skill, time management, time…I think I had one, maybe two of those things last night when I whipped this recipe up. Thankfully, my wife stepped in and helped with the sauce, and didn’t mind that I overstuffed the ravioli, leading to a fair amount of leftover dough. She also didn’t mind too much that dinner was served about 4 hours after she first said, “hmm, I’m starting to get little hungry.” (It didn’t take that long to make, but that’s when we left Starbucks and headed to the grocery store to start the ball rolling).
This recipe is long enough though, that I’d better get straight to it. The one thing I want to point out though, is that you will want to go easy on the sauce. It has the sort of taste that is absolutely delicious, but overpowering if you consume too much of it. Maybe toss the ravioli with about half of the sauce, then let guests add more if they choose to. Again, it’s delicious, but there is something called “too much of a good thing”
Spinach, Ricotta and Parmesan Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
(Adapted from Gordon Ramsay)
- 4 cups type “00” flour
- 9 eggs (3 full plus 6 yolks)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. water, divided
For the filling*:
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 1 lb. bunch of spinach (stems removed, washed, and patted dry)
- 2 cloves Russian garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp. butter
For the sauce:
- 5 tbsp. butter, diced
- 2 tbsp. cream (33% milk fat)
- 6 sage leaves, shredded
- 1 egg, whipped
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, create a well in the middle, then add the eggs, the olive oil, and 2 tbsp. of the water. Mix together with a wooden spoon for a minute or two, until you can start kneading by hand. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. If the dough is too dry, add the extra tbsp. of water. If it becomes too sticky, add a little bit more flour.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least half an hour. In the meantime, get started on the filling. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat, then toss in the garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Add the spinach and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the nutmeg and butter, then season with salt and pepper.
- Once the butter has melted, strain out the liquid from the spinach and chop the spinach roughly.
- Mix the ricotta and parmesan together in a bowl, then add the spinach and mix again. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Once the dough has chilled, remove from the fridge, and working with an eighth of the dough at a time, roll the dough out into a thin sheet using a pasta machine.
- There are different techniques for forming ravioli, so I suggest you do a bit of research and select the one that you find works best for you. I personally took advice from Gordon Ramsay and spooned the filling onto the pasta sheet in even intervals, brushed around the filling with egg, then rolled the pasta over the filling and pressed down around each pocket of filling. After that, I brushed with egg again, folded the ravioli over a second time, and once again pressed around the pockets. Finally, I cut the ravioli into individual pieces and trimmed off any excess dough. Make sure to cover the ravioli with a dish towel before you work on the next set of ravioli.
- Once you’ve finished your first eighth of dough, repeat the process until all the dough is used up. You’re aiming to use up the filling and the dough at the same time. If the filling runs out early, you can form the rest of the dough (plus the excess trimmings) into other pasta like tagliatelle, dry it, and use it for another recipe later.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, then boil the ravioli for 2 minutes. Strain the water from the ravioli and let them rest a moment.
- Either while the water is coming to a boil, or while the ravioli are resting, make the sauce. Toss the butter into a saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Continue to heat the butter, allowing it to brown slightly. Toss in the cream and sage and give it a stir.
- Once the ravioli is all cooked, and the sage butter is ready, toss the ravioli in the sage butter before plating. Before serving, add a little extra grated parmesan on top. (I used pre-grated parmesan in the filling, but freshly shaved parmesan on top for the sake of presentation).
* If you’re into stuffing your ravioli quite full, increase the filling amounts by 50% and you can get another serving or two out of the pasta
As mentioned at the start of this post, this recipe absolutely no cake walk, but it’s a definite show-stopper. Also mentioned a little earlier – in another post, actually – I’ve been looking at new blog names. I don’t yet have an exhaustive list, but I do have a thought or four. If you get a chance, let me know what you think of either of these (and thanks in advance):
- Gastronomical, Gastronomically Good, etc.
- Mic Drop Meals (you just did something awesome – drop the microphone, walk away)
- Hot and Crusty (too suggestive, or just right?)
- My Town Smells Like Poo (not really too topical, but a reference to local farming)…
I’ll admit, the last one wasn’t my own idea but a suggestion from someone near and dear. Anyways, what do you think?