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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ravioli with Cherry Tomato Pesto Cream Sauce

Several years ago for my birthday, Connie bought me a pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aide.  We thought we'd use it maybe once or twice a year but it'd be fun to have.  Well, we've used it a lot more than that!  Primarily because homemade pasta is far superior to what you can buy in the store.  It's a process to make it but boy is it EVER worth the time.  Gina from Cooking Across State Lines and Frank from Memorie di Angelina have both blogged about making your own ravioli.  I've certainly read plenty of recipes for it.  But, I'd never tried it.  We had a ton of cherry tomatoes to use  up.  I wanted to do some kind of pasta sauce with some of them.  So, it was time to make my own.  As per usual, I combed my cookbooks looking for recipes for the filling.  Some were really weird - who eats some of that stuff anyway?  Did the authors actually do testing and people liked those recipes?  I don't know, but I wasn't having any of that!  The one recipe I saw over and over was touted as the basic ravioli recipe - ricotta cheese and swiss chard or spinach.  I wound up using the version from 320 Italian Recipes by Whiteman, Wright, Boggiano and Capalbo.  Frank's recipe was VERY similar to the one I used and I took one big idea from Frank's blog - use a food processor.  The pasta recipe is from the cookbook that came with the attachment.  The sauce was basically clean out the kitchen for two.  And, we wound up with some fantastic ravioli that wasn't tough to make at all.

Ravioli with Cherry Tomato Pesto Cream Sauce

Basic Pasta
2 eggs
1 1/2 c semolina flour
1 T water
1/2 t oil
1/4 t salt

Put all of the ingredients in your mixing bowl. 

Mix them on power level 2 for two minutes with the flat mixing attachment. 

Switch to the dough hook and mix for an additional two minutes.  Divide the dough into four parts. 

Keep the balls you're not working with wrapped in a damp towel.  You're going to want to start with the attachment on setting #1.  Take the ball and smoosh it into a rectangle.  Take one end of the rectangle and smoosh it so it'll fit into the pasta attachment. 

Feed the dough through.  Fold it in thirds or quarters, turn it one quarter turn and feed it back through. 

Keep doing this until the texture and color are correct.  Ah, you say, when is that?  Well, it's pretty easy to tell.  Your dough goes from kind of a dusty yellow to a lovely cream color.  And, the texture becomes much softer and more supple.  If you're going to make fettucine or linguine, you'll want to stop at setting #4.  For ravioli, you'll stop at setting #6 or 7.  The dough will get VERY thin and VERY long.  It's tough to keep it from tearing.  Having a second person standing by to change the settings is a huge help.  We finally started dividing our dough in half once we'd reached setting #4.  That way it doesn't have time to dry out but you don't run the same risk of tearing it.  Make ONE ball at a time.  Each ball will make 8-10 ravioli.

Ricotta and Spinach Filling

14 oz fresh spinach
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper 

Rinse your spinach well.  Put it in a saucepan with just the water left from rinsing it.  Let it wilt.  Remove it from the heat.  If there is any residual moisture, pour it off.  You want the spinach to be pretty dry.  Put the spinach in the bowl of your food processor.  Add the other ingredients. 

Pulse JUST until the spinach is chopped.  You still want the spinach and ricotta to be somewhat distinct. 

To assemble the ravioli.  Lay a strip of pasta dough on a floured surface.  Top it with teaspoons of the filling, spaced about two inches apart. 

Lay another strip of pasta dough on top.  Pat them together, making sure to pat up to the filling so there are no air pockets. 


Trim the edges. 

Then cut into squares. 

Move to a floured baking sheet and allow to sit for 30 minutes before cooking. 

To cook the ravioli.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Drop the ravioli in and cook them for 4-5 minutes.  Remove with a spider so you get just pasta - not water.

Cherry Tomato Pesto Cream Sauce
1 T olive oil
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 anchovies
1/2 c chicken stock
1/4 c white wine
1/3 c prepared pesto (we use Trader Joe's)
2 c cherry tomatoes
1/2 cream
1/2 c grated parmesan
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted

Saute the mushrooms in the olive oil. 

Once they're softened and a bit browned, add the anchovies and the garlic.  Saute until the anchovies melt. 

Add the chicken stock and white wine and cook until it's slightly reduced.  Add the pesto and stir well.  Add the cherry tomatoes. 

Cook until they burst. 

They may need some help bursting.  I used the tip of a knife.  Be careful because those little buggers are hot.  You don't want to get splashed with hot cherry tomato juice!  Just before serving, stir in the cream.

Serve over the ravioli topped with the parmesan and pine nuts. 


Sprinkled with Flour said...

Wow, I'm so impressed with your homemade pasta. It looks and sounds delicious!

Evan @swEEts said...

Making my own pasta has always intimidated me, but you make it look so easy with your step by step photos! I will however try making that delicious looking tomato pesto sauce very soon!

Skylar Wolfe said...

I love the fresh pasta! It looks great.

mummy's kitchen said...

This looks lovely, thanks for inspiring me to dust off the pasta machine again!

Becky said...

The pasta look so delicious! I'll be making the sauce soon.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!!!!! This looks so amazing! Kudos to you for having homemade pasta, it looks divine!


Homemade pasta is the best!

Anonymous said...

No dough hook or roller here, i do mine by hand ( hinting to my hubby who is reading this "MOM NEEDS A PASTA ROLLER" lol ) Yours look beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!

Paulette L Motzko said...

Dear Kate,
I loved your sauce and the very easy way you make making homemade pasta doughs at home look.

I for some goofy reason cannot locate my Atlas stainless steel machine but I always had a heck of a time with it any way, never producing anything other than bricks. (That was when I used semolina flour!) What brand of pasta roller do you use? I have not seen that type.

Do you have to bolt it down on the counter like the Atlas ones?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I would love to learn the technique how to do this.
I have been trying to perfect this technique for years. :-)

I would love you to post this recipe and any pictures you would like to share on my blog at:

Polly Motzko

The Mom Chef said...

I just realized that I haven't been following you all this time. How the heck did that happen when I read all your posts???

Anyhow, kudos to you on home made pasta! The ravioli looks amazing and your sauce is gorgeous.

Once again, another stellar recipe.

Sevgi said...

This is very impressive and it looks delicious!