We actually made these ravioli twice while we were in Italy. Like anything else - everyone has their own nuanced way of doing things...and no one is right or wrong! At Certosa di Pontignano, we rolled the dough with hand-crank pasta machines, which is what I normally do. In Florence they showed us how to roll it by hand - so you would only need a rolling pin! And of course I will always remember Chef Alain's gentle advice, "It's only pasta!" People will get very caught up in making something in a very exact way...and if you're baking...you have to do that. But that's the beauty of cooking...it doesn't HAVE to be exact! It doesn't HAVE to be anything other than what YOU want! So if your pasta dough is a little too thick (or thin), if your ravioli are a little too fat, or if they're not EXACTLY how Nonna would make...it's FINE! If they taste good - you've succeeded!
The ravioli are dressed in the easiest sauce possible. Literally it's 2 ingredients. Three if you count adding the cheese on top! Butter and sage. And in this case, you don't even have to brown the butter, just melt it, toss in some fresh sage leaves and add your ravioli! It's so simple and SO delicious (ok, it's butter, how could it NOT be delicious!?) But it also really lets the ravioli shine, allowing all of the flavors of the pasta and the filling to come through!
Watch the class then grab your ingredients and give these a try at home - I suggest making it a family affair! If nothing else it's a memory you won't soon forget!
1 batch fresh pasta dough
2 C. ricotta cheese
1 1/2 C. fresh spinach, packed
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 sticks (1 C.) butter
12-15 fresh sage leaves
parmesan cheese, for serving
In a saute' pan with a few spoonfuls of water in the bottom, wilt the spinach. You may have to work in batches to make room in the pan. When all the spinach is wilted, drain it well, squeezing any excess water from it. Chop the spinach and set aside.
Combine ricotta, spinach, and egg. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
Roll the dough into rectangles about 1/4 inch thick. Use a baby spoon or espresso spoon to drop small amounts of the filling across the portion of the dough closest to you. Leave room between each spoonful so you can create and edge on 3 sides (left, right and closest to you). Fold the half of the dough furthest from you over the filling and press gently. Use your thumbs to create a seal around the filling. Try not to press the filling itself as that won't allow the pasta to stick and seal tightly. Use a sharp knife to cut the ravioli into individual pieces and remove excess dough around the edges; but leave room to seal the edges. Try to make the ravioli an even shape.
Finally use a fork to press the edges together of each ravioli. Do not press the same place twice because that can pierce the dough.
Melt the butter in a deep saute' pan. Add int he sage leaves and leave the pan over low heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the ravioli. They will float once they are cooked, about 3 minutes. Using a spider or strainer, scoop the ravioli out of the water and add them to the pan with the butter. Stir them gently to make sure they are coated in butter to prevent sticking. Once all of the ravioli are in the sauce, add a large handful of parmesan to finish the dish.
Serve hot with extra cheese on the side.