Raviolo With Spinach, Ricotta & Egg Yolk
Bear in mind you will need to cook these carefully to avoid them splitting, so don’t plan to cook all 8 at once and then sit down to share together. It’s more a more casual, one-at-a-time sort of dining, but it’s so much fun to eat that it will be well worth the wait!
Makes 8, to serve 4
For the dough:
- 260g/9oz of Italian 00 flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
For the filling:
- 30ml/1fl oz olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 200g/7oz spinach
- 200g/7oz ricotta
- 1 small nutmeg, finely grated
- 60g/2oz Parmesan, grated
- 8 egg yolks (keep aside 1 egg white to seal the pasta)
- For the butter emulsion
- 60g/2oz butter
- 4 or 5 fresh sage leaves
First make the pasta dough. Tip the flour onto a clean worktop or board, make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle of it. Break the egg yolks and start to whisk them, slowly incorporating the flour as you go. When everything starts to come together, use your hands to knead the dough and continue to work it for around 10 minutes.
If your dough is too moist, dust it with some extra 00 flour. If it feels too dry and crumbly, wet your hands under the kitchen tap and continue to knead. After 10 minutes your dough should be smooth and pliable. Cover the dough with an upturned bowl and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes, while you make the filling.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the onion and garlic and fry for 4 minutes on setting 6, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach, cover the pan with the lid and cook for a further 3 minutes on setting 5. Take the pan off the heat, mix everything together well and make sure there is no excess liquid at the bottom of the pan; if you think it’s too moist, tip into a sieve and allow to drain for a few minutes. Set aside to cool down.
Next tip the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg into the bowl of a food processor and add the cooled spinach mixture. Blend until you have smooth green paste, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend for another few seconds, then transfer to a clean bowl and leave to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the spinach and combine everything together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
Take a quarter piece of your pasta dough (leave the rest covered until you’re ready to use it) and start rolling the dough twice through each setting on your pasta machine, starting at 0 and finishing on setting no 6. Rolling twice each time gives you a better, more pliable texture.
Dust a clean work surface or board with semolina, place the first sheet of pasta on top and then cut across to create 4 pieces approximately 13cms long. Place a tablespoon of the spinach filling into the centre of 2 of the rectangles and make a dip in the centre of each using the back of the spoon. Place an egg yolk into this dip.
Brush around the edge of the filling with the egg white to help seal the dough together, then place one of the plain sheets of pasta on top of the filled rectangle. Gently press the dough together to form a parcel, taking care not to split the egg yolk (this can be tricky the first time you try it but just do it slowly). Now trim off the edges with a ravioli cutter, if you have one, or just use a knife. The offcuts of dough can be saved to use in a soup (they will keep in an airtight container for 2 days in the fridge, or you can freeze for up to 1 month). Continue with the rest of the dough and filling until you have 8 raviolo.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil before adding a generous tablespoon of table salt. At the same time, place 60g of butter with half a ladle of boiling water into a separate saucepan and swish it around to emulsify the butter. Add a twist or two of black pepper and 4 or 5 sage leaves and leave to keep warm on setting 4. You’re now ready to cook the raviolo. I usually cook 1 at a time as you need to take good care not to split the pasta parcel. Carefully slide one raviolo into the water and boil for 90 seconds, then lift it out with a slotted spoon and place into the butter emulsion. Gently swish around in the sauce for 30 seconds and you are ready to serve.
You won’t be able to serve everyone at once, but the drama of cutting into the raviolo and seeing the egg yolk running across the plate is enough to keep everyone waiting for their own turn to come.