Little N and Little A, and this time there was also Little O, got together for another playdate, or rather Nicole and I got together again for some wine and another cooking session. We made raviolis, and enjoyed it with family and friends along with some salad, and ice-cream.
Wine bottles were opened, stories were exchanged, and raviolis were made under Nicole's guidance. I've never made raviolis before. It confounds me, the thinness of the dough, how much filling to add, when do you know it's done, do we need a sauce? All these questions were swirling in my mind when Nicole generously agreed to show how to do it.
To save some time, we each made a filling and a sauce beforehand and then put it all together just before dinner.
1. Ricotta and spinach filling and a tomato sauce.
2. Butternut squash filling and a white sauce.
Nicole brought her pasta machine to roll out the dough and a ravioli maker. She gave me one ravioli maker too! We rolled out the dough using her pasta machine, spread the final dough sheet on the ravioli maker, filled it up with a filling and voila, in a couple of hours we had a good batch ready to be cooked.
I also have a cool video of Nicole explaining how much filling to put and the ravioli maker and I promise to post it soon ( as soon as the battery is charged).
Here is how Nicole made the ricotta and spinach filling and the marinara sauce:
Ricotta and spinach filling
(Adapted from Lidia's Italian American Kitchen)
3 c whole milk ricotta
2 T olive oil
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1/2 c minced scallions (about 6)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed.
4 c fresh spinach chopped
1 c grated parmesan cheese
Drain the cheese overnight in the fridge in a fine mesh colander lined with a coffee filter.
Saute the leeks and scallions in the olive oil about till soft.
Stir in spinach, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 min., until liquid has evaporated. Cool before next step.
Stir together ricotta, parmesan, spinach mixture and egg. Chill before filling the ravioli, otherwise it will cook the pasta dough.
1 35-oz. can of diced San Marzano tomatoes, with liquid
1 can "6 in 1" ground tomatoes (Plum has it. If you can't find that brand, you could use tomato puree.)
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c finely shredded carrot
1/4 c finely shredded celery
4 fresh or 2 dry bay leaves
1 T grated parmesan cheese
1 t brown sugar (optional)
chopped basil to taste
Sautee the onions and peppers on medium until the onion is translucent, maybe 5 min.
Add celery and carrots. Cook til it turns a light golden color, about 10 min.
Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and bring to a boil
Lower heat to a simmer, add brown sugar, and cook for about 45 min, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaves. Remove 1/2 to 2/3 of the sauce from the pan and carefully puree it in the blender. The amount you puree depends on how chunky you want the sauce.
Stir pureed sauce back into pan.
Stir in parmesan cheese and basil.
Season w/salt and pepper if necessary
Here is how I made the butternut squash filling and the white cheese sauce.
Butternut Squash Filling
Ingredients:1 butternut squash - sliced
10-12 green olives chopped
1 small onion chopped
handful walnuts chopped
1/2 tspoon cumin seed powder
fresh black pepper powder
2 tbspoon oil
Method:Heat the oven to 350 deg F and put the sliced butternut squash in for 40-45 min mixed with 1 tbspoon oilive oil and salt and pepper. When there is 4 min cooking time left, add in the walnuts to toast them.
Take it out, mash the butternut squash, chop the walnuts and set aside.
Heat the rest of 1 tbspoon oil and add in the chopped onions and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the mashed butternut squash, and mix it together. Add the chopped olives, cumin seed powder, salt and pepper and let it cook together for a couple of minutes. Add in the walnuts and take it off the heat.
Let it cool before you add in as a filling.
Ingredients:1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cheese (I used a combination of parmesan and white cheddar shredded)
1/4 tspoon basil powder
2 cloves garlic minced
salt to taste
1 tbspoon butter
In a deep pan, heat the butter and add the garlic and saute. Then add the cheese and milk and let it cook on low heat till the cheese dissolves. Add in the salt and basil powder and then let it thicken for 3-4 minutes. Take it off the heat.
Putting the raviolis together
Once the raviolis are ready, heat water with some oil and and salt. When the water is boiling add in the raviolis and let it cook for 12-13 minutes.