Every Sunday Giulia would have lunch with her grandma on her mother’s side. On the way to la nonna, her parents would always stop by at a little pastificio located in a piazza in the centre of Giulia’s hometown in Abruzzo province to get fresh ravioli. The lady owning the shop wrapped little puffy dumplings carefully in a parchment paper. Once at grandma’s home, Giulia’s mother would unpack the dumplings and laid them onto a big wooden table giving Giulia and her brother the opportunity to sneak some raw ravioli still dusted in semola flour. Unfortunately, Giulia never had a chance to learn the recipe from her nonna but over the years she has managed to recreate something very similar to the original recipe, from memory, which we are sharing with you below.
Giulia’s Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli
40 minPrep Time
1 hrCook Time
1 hr, 40 Total Time
250 g flour type 00
Semola flour or any coarse flour (to sprinkle over ravioli so that they do not stick together)
250g spinach (frozen or fresh)
125g fresh ricotta
50g parmigiano reggiano
1l Tomato Sauce (or canned tomatoes)
1 garlic clove
Fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Put 220g of the flour into a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the centre and crack in two whole eggs and an additional yolk.
Start mixing the dough with a fork. When the the dough and egg start forming streaks, transfer it onto a table top sprinkled with flour and start kneading the dough with your hands. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes. Depending on the size of the eggs you used, the dough may be either too sticky or too dry. If too sticky, gradually add the remaining 30g of flour. If too dry, add a splash of water. Keep kneading it until smooth. Once ready, wrap in cling film or a plastic wrap and put aside so that gluten present in the dough can do its magic. No need to put the dough in the fridge.
Prepare your filling
Strain your ricotta to get rid of any water.
If using fresh spinach, put it in a pan without olive oil and cover with the lid. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring from time to time. After this, strain it to remove any excess water and chop in small pieces. If using frozen spinach, put it into a pan and cook until all water evaporates. If your spinach was frozen in bigger chunks, chop it in smaller pieces.
Using a fork, cream the ricotta. Add chopped spinach and combine everything until smooth. Add nutmeg, pepper and a pinch of salt to taste and mix well.
Take half of the dough from the ball wrapped in plastic. Place it on a table top sprinkled with semolina or any other course flour (using finer flour for this will cause the dough to dry) .
Flatten the dough by pressing gently with your palm. Then start rolling it with the rolling pin starting. Imagine that the dough is like a map. Place your roll in the middle and roll it all the way to the north. Next, pick up your dough and rotating it 90 degrees and roll from the Centre to the north again. Repeat this several times, each time rotating 90 degrees os you are rolling it evenly and every now and then sprinkling more coarse flour underneath if needed. You are done when your dough is so thin that you can lift up and almost see through it.
Transfer this dough to a baking tray sprinkled with coarse flour, cover it and place in the fridge to prevent it from drying as you work with the remaining dough.
Roll out the remaining dough following the instructions described above.
Once finished with the second half of the dough, take a teaspoon and place small piles of filling around it, about 2 inches from each other.
Gently wet the dough around each pile of filling to make it sticky again.
Once finished, cover the bottom layer of the dough with the layer that you rolled first.
Press gently around the protruding pockets of the filling and use an upturned glass to cut out round disks of dough.
After cutting all ravioli, make sure to remove any air pockets from around the stuffing by gently opening one edge, pressing the air out and resealing.
Once you finish with a set táin amount of ravioli, cover with a cloth to stop from drying out and continue to cut out the rest.
Prepare your sauce
Finely chop onion and sauté it over medium heat with a dash of olive oil. Add a whole clove of garlic and a can of chopped tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes if you have them but others are fine too). Simmer for about 20 minutes stirring and breaking any chunky bits. Remove from the heat, discard the garlic and finish with some fresh basil leaves.
In the meantime, boil water in a large pot for pasta. Add the ravioli and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Once done, transfer immediately into the tomato sauce and serve with parmigiano reggiano or grana padano - they both work well, but for your own safety just don't try to tell an Italian that they're basically the same thing! 🙂
Make sure to have a rolling pin!
Remove excess water from stuffing: moisture will make the ravioli dough mushy and may cause it to tear apart.
Don't leave the dough uncovered as it will dry out very quickly.
Use water in moderation: if your dough is getting too dry, dampen your hands with a little bit of water and knead the dough to revive it.
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