> The Beesley Buzz: Respect the Pasta Challenge 4: Respect from Scratch

Respect the Pasta Challenge 4: Respect from Scratch

Here we are for our fourth #RespectThePasta challenge with ASK Italian. ASK Italian are on a mission to get people to give pasta the respect it deserves - no longer a backup storecupboard ingredient but instead taking pride of place as the focus of meals!

And what better way to do that than to make pasta from scratch. Our task was to make ravioli from scratch.
Using the fantastic ASK Italian cookbook (you can read more about the cookbook in Challenge 3 here), we made ravioli from scratch, filled with a delicious Spinach and Ricotta filling, served with a tasty Spinach and creme fraiche sauce. The recipe for how to make the pasta, the filling and the sauce are below.

Here's how we got on...

When we were homeschooling, D had asked to make pasta and we learnt the hard way that it takes a lot of muscle power to roll the pasta dough really thin. So after that experience we had bought a hand-cranked pasta machine. We used this to help make our ravioli as it does get the dough really thin.

The dough is actually really simple to make with just a few ingredients. We did get a bit messy cutting out the ravioli shapes so they didn't turn out as neat and uniform as they could be - but with practice I think we'd get better!
The filling was tasty and the creme fraiche and spinach sauce was soooo super that we've had it again with different types of pasta since we made this ravioli.
The recipe states Dry white wine for the sauce, which we didn't strictly stick to, as I have a special fondness for Black Tower after my design was printed on half-a-million bottles of the stuff last year. So we used that in the recipe and to drink with it and it tasted great.
I love Parmesan on pasta so that finished the meal perfectly!
Here's the recipe if you'd like to make it yourself:

Recipe for the pasta (for 3-4 people):

3 large eggs
250g '00' flour
50g fine semolina flour

(instead of using grade '00' flour and semolina flour, you could use '00' grade pasta flour with durum)

Making the dough:
Place all the ingredients in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until a ball of dough is formed. It should feel smooth to the touch, firm but with a slightly sticky texture. If the dough feels too moist, add another spoonful of flour.

Remove the dough and divide it into 2 balls. Cover them with cling film so they don't dry out. The dough can be refrigerated at this point and will keep for up to 10 days.

Proving the dough:
Set the rollers of your pasta machine at their widest setting. Pass the dough through the machine as you turn the handle. Fold the pasta in three. Give the roller setting one-quarter turn to narrow the rollers and pass the dough through the machine again, then fold in three again. Repeat at least 3 more times, narrowing the rollers each time. By now the glutens in the flour will have been kneaded and will be elastic. Make the pasta as thin as you feel comfortable working with. The pasta sheet should be no longer than 60cm or it will be difficult to handle and may break.

Recipe: Ravioli Di Spinaci E Ricotta

Filling:
45ml ASK Italian extra virgin olive oil
100g baby spinach
180g ricotta
80g Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
A pinch of dried ground marjoram
A pinch of dried wild oregano
A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
30g Soft white breadcrumbs
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Sauce:
30g unsalted butter
115g garden peas
12 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
60ml (4tbsp) dry white wine
230g creme fraiche
100ml hot pasta cooking water
Freshly ground nutmeg
60g baby spinach leaves
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Method:
First make the filling. This makes approximately 400g, for about 40 ravioli. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the spinach leaves and wilt slowly, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Allow to cool before chopping finely.

In a large bowl, combine the chopped spinach, ricotta, Parmesan or Grana Padano, and remaining Extra virgin olive oil. Stir in the marjoram, oregano and nutmeg. Mix well. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Add the breadcrumbs, stirring to combine all the ingredients. The filling will keep for 1 day in the fridge if you want to make it in advance.

Make the pasta and fill the ravioli.

You can fill the ravioli by placing teaspoons of filling 4cm apart on a sheet of pasta. Use a pastry brush to moisten around the edges, then lay a second sheet on top. Then use the ravioli stamp to make the ravioli shapes. (We found this stage a bit tricky as it is hard to get big sheets of pasta made even with the pasta machine but with practice hopefully we'll improve!)

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the peas and chopped basil and cook for a minute over a low heat. Stir in the wine, turn up the heat and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add the creme fraiche and the hot pasta cooking water, mixing well. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Lower the heat, add the baby spinach and cook gently until it wilts. When you have added the spinach to the sauce, drop the ravioli into the pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and delicately stir the ravioli into the pea sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes more. Divide the ravioli between warmed serving bowls, spooning over any extra sauce.
Disclosure: We were sent a Ravioli stamp and some grade '00' pasta flour for this task, as well as a copy of the ASK Italian cookbook. Recipes reproduced here with permission. All opinions are our own. 

5 comments:

  1. I've always been so intimidated by the idea of making my own pasta, but it doesn't look too scary. Gorgeous looking recipe too x

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  2. What a treat homemade pasta.It looks really tasty.

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  3. Oh wow this looks absolutely delicious! I've never made my own pasta before but I really want to try now x

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  4. I have a ravioli cutter but have never used it. Infact I may have put it in the Play Doh box. Looks good tho!

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  5. Wow, it looks fantastic. You recreation is spot on!

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