Thursday, July 2, 2015

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli in Pink Sauce

Ravioli is probably one the most interesting pasta dishes. Pillows of flour stuffed with yummy filling and served with a sauce of your choice. I generally like to order 3 cheese Ravioli or Mushroom Ravioli at most Italian Restaurants but my favorite dish is the Spinach and Cheese Ravioli in Pink Sauce that is served at Osteria in Palo Alto. They make the ravioli from scratch and their pink sauce is such a delight. I love to finish off all the extra sauce with the sourdough bread they serve! 

However, I have ordered Ravioli at a few renowned places, only to find they heat up the ravioli from the frozen packets straight from Costco and serve it in a fancy plate with some sauce. Those are the places I hate as I do not enjoy the store bought ravioli. My love for ravioli along with my hatred for store bought ones lead me to make this ravioli from scratch. I browsed a lot of places online and figured out one ground rule to make any pasta: the proportion of eggs and flour has to be 1:1, so for every 100 grams of APF use 1 egg. Here we are using about 300 grams of flour and 3 medium eggs. Using this rule, some imagination for the filling and a ton of patience, I finally managed to make this dish, and make it well.

The pasta tastes best when made with eggs. However, if you would like a vegan option, replace the eggs with 3 tbsp of flaxseed powder. This dish requires a lot of muscle power to knead the dough and roll it out to a thin layer. I have not used any fancy machines here like the dough maker or the pasta sheet maker or even the ravioli press. The dish is made from everyday gadgets used in the kitchen! However, if you use the pasta machine, you will require half the time to make the same pasta. It depends on you and the availability of gadgets in your kitchen.

I have served the ravioli with a pink sauce. This sauce is essentially a mixture of the aflredo and the Marinara sauce. I made the alfredo from scratch and mixed in store bought Marinara. You may choose to make both sauces at home and mix them, or just reduce the effort and mix the store bought sauces in the ratio you like. If you do not like that sauce, or want to try another flavor, you can serve it with Roasted Pepper sauceKale Spinach Pesto Sauce or Pumpkin sauce too!!


For the Ravioli Dough
All purpose Flour 300 grams
3 medium eggs
Salt 1 tsp (as per taste)
Olive Oil 1 tbsp

For the Filling
Spinach 3 cups
Mushrooms 1 1/2 cup, diced
Mozzarella Cheese 1 1/2 cup
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Garlic 2-3 pods, minced
Salt, Pepper

For the Pink Sauce
Garlic 2 cloves minced
All Purpose Flour 1/4 cup
Milk 1 cup
Seasoning, Salt, Pepper
Mozzarella Cheese 1/4 cup
Store Bought Marinara/ Roasted Garlic Sauce 1/2 cup


For the Ravioli Dough

In a mixing bowl add the eggs and 1/4 cup of water and beat with a spoon. Once the yolk and white has mixed, add the salt and mix well. Now it is time to make the dough. The dough can be made in a baking tray or on the kitchen counter lined with aluminium foil. I generally tape a big piece of foil on the counter and bring my dough together on it. When done, discard the foil. This method minimizes cleaning!! So either in a baking tray or on a lined counter take the all purpose flour. 

Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour 1/4 of the egg water mixture. Mix everything together with a spatula or your hands. Once the mixture is incorporated, add 1/4 more and continue to knead and add till all the mixture has been incorporated in the flour. Knead the dough well for 5-7 minutes till the dough becomes smooth to touch. Now add the olive oil and knead the dough again for 10 minutes. Kneading helps develop the gluten required for the pasta. After kneading, the dough will be soft to touch. At this stage wrap it tightly in shrink wrap and place it in the refrigerator. You may choose to split the dough into two and place them separately.

For the Filling

Wash and dry the baby spinach leaves. Chop them finely and set aside. Also, wash, dry and mince the mushroom. In a pan heat butter/ olive oil and add the garlic and saute till the raw flavor disappears. Next, add the onions and cook till they are light pink in color. Next add the spinach and mushrooms, seasoning, salt and pepper. I used the 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joe's but you can use any Italian seasoning of your choice. Adjust the salt as per the salt content in the mix. Saute the mixture till it becomes dry and all the water has evaporated. Turn down the flame and add the cheese. Mix well. Set aside to cool.

To make the Ravioli

Once the stuffing has cooled and the dough has rested for some time, it is now time to do all the muscle work! Get one part of the dough out of refrigerator and split it into balls of equal size. Make about 2-3 balls depending on how big your counter is. Take one ball at a time and let the remaining rest in shrink wrap. Using some extra APF to dust the counter and rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thin sheet. Roll it as thin as you can to cook the pasta quickly and evenly. Make the sheet about 6 inches wide and as long as possible. 

Once done, use an ice cream scoop to place scoops of the filling on the sheet at a distance of 4-5 inches in a single line. Now fold the dough over the filling, making it a long sheet of 3 inches width. Press around the filling to remove any air bubbles that are trapped. Now, using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut out the ravioli in squares of 2-2.5 inches and press the edges with a fork. This gives the Ravioli a nice design and also seals the edges tight. Now place them in a plate dusted with flour. The 300 grams of flour should make roughly 20-22 raviolis. You can make the raviolis in advance and freeze them for future use. To prepare the ravioli for dinner, heat water in a deep pan. Add a pinch of salt to it. Next drop in 2-3 raviolis and let them simmer. The pasta will sink at first, and once cooked it becomes light and floats to the top. Also, it will become slightly transparent. That is the time to remove the ravioli and serve it with a sauce of your choice. 

I served it with a pink sauce that I love. To make the sauce, heat butter in a pan and saute the garlic. Once the raw flavor is gone, add All purpose flour and mix vigorously so that no lumps form. Let the flour cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the milk slowly while mixing it in on medium flame. Once the milk has been added, mix it well to break any lumps that have formed. Now, add the store bought red sauce to it and also the cheese. Mix it all well to get a light pink colored sauce. Season with oregano or seasoning mix, salt and pepper. You can also make the Marinara Sauce from scratch, the recipe can be found here. However, you can serve it with Roasted Pepper sauce, Kale Spinach Pesto Sauce or Pumpkin sauce too!!

To try out other pasta recipes, click here.

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