Spring is here! I like to celebrate it with homemade ravioli - filled with fresh spinach and ricotta. In Liguria, spinach ravioli alla genovese is a holiday dish. But they always taste good.Jump to Recipe
Get rich with ravioli
In Genoa, spinach ravioli traditionally have a square-rectangular shape. When it comes to the filling, which is placed between two layers of egg pasta dough, cooks can then let their imaginations run wild: meat combined with aromatic borage, fish, vegetables, cheese and fresh herbs always lead to new taste experiences. For the meatless version (ravioli di magro), spinach orchard mixed with tender ricotta are the preferred ingredients.
The name of the pasta, as the story goes, comes from a family called Raviolo from the small town of Gavi in what is now Piedmont. The egg noodles with meat filling, which was served here in the family's inn as early as the 12th century, was legendary and helped the owners to become wealthy. This bought them a title of nobility, and they chose the stuffed egg noodles as their emblem. From then on, the name and the pasta were one and the same.
The vegetarian version
Also according to legend, a poor woman wanted to celebrate Christmas with the famous pasta, but unfortunately she could not afford to buy meat for the filling. Instead, she resorted to vegetables from her garden and some leftover soft cheese she found in the pantry. And the ravioli tasted marvellous!
There is evidence that ravioli was already a common dish in the late Middle Ages. Boccaccio confirms this. The Italian writer wrote in the Decameron: "And there was (there) a mountain made entirely of grated Parmesan cheese, on which stood people who did nothing but make macaroni and ravioli and cook them in capon broth."
The word raviolo, according to etymology, can also be derived from the verb avvolgere (to wrap, wrap up). This actually describes what you do when you make ravioli.
Genoese-style spinach ricotta ravioli
For the pasta dough
- 300 g flour
- 3 eggs
For the filling
- 900 g spinach, leaves
- 250 g ricotta
- 150 g Parmesan, grated
- 1 egg
For the sauce
- 70 g butter
- Parmesan, grated
- 1 small handfull sage, leaves fresh
For the pasta dough
- spread the flour on a work surface. Make a hollow in the centre. Add the eggs and salt and knead into a smooth pasta dough until it no longer sticks to the work surface. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Now it's time for the filling
- Blanch the spinach briefly in boiling water and rinse with ice-cold water (this preserves the beautiful green colour). Squeeze the leaves well and chop finely. In a bowl, mix the spinach with the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Divide the pasta dough and roll out on a clean, floured work surface to a thickness of approx. 1-2 mm (or make thin pasta sheets with a pasta machine). Place one heaped teaspoon of filling on one sheet of dough, about 3 cm apart. Brush the pasta dough around the filling with a little water. Now carefully place the second pasta sheet over the first one with the fillings, pressing the spaces well with your fingers. Cut out the ravioli with a pastry wheel and cook in salted, lightly boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Lift out with a skimmer and drain.
- In the meantime, gently fry the sage leaves in butter until they are crisp and the butter has the scent of sage. The butter should not turn brown. Toss the finished ravioli in the sage butter, mixing in freshly grated Parmesan. Arrange the ravioli in portions on plates, sprinkle again with a little Parmesan and garnish with sage leaves if desired.
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