Weekends are an opportunity to spend a little longer making family meals, and sitting down together for a shared meal is something I look forward to all week. Our three year old likes to ‘help’, although his version of help is basically ‘stealing cheese’.
All kids are picky. Our little one’s first reaction to everything is ‘I don’t like that’ even before he tries it. Our strategy is to involve him in preparing our meals. This way he can feel confident about what he’s eating. With this dish he turned the pasta handle while I fed in the dough. Yep, we’re that middle-class.
200g OO flour plus some for dusting
One clove of garlic
Splash of olive oil
Bag of spinach leaves (about 200g)
Salt and pepper
Small bunch of sage leaves
Make the pasta dough first because it needs to sit for at least 30 minutes.
Mix the eggs and flour together with a pinch of salt.
If you have a food processor, use this to combine the ingredients, otherwise mix well by hand in a big bowl.
Kneed the dough until it’s silky smooth and stiff.
Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge.
Now for the filling.
In a large pan or wok, heat the oil and add the finely chopped garlic.
Chuck in the washed spinach and move them around to ensure they don’t stick.
Put a lid on and cook for a couple of minutes – basically until they are all wilted.
Remove from the heat and allow to drain.
Once the wilted leaves are cool enough, use your hands to squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible. Then chop them roughly and put them in a large bowl.
Add the egg, ricotta, parmesan, a few grates of nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste, then mix it all together.
Back to the pasta – this is one of those times you should read this through to the end first!
It’s easier to use a pasta machine to roll out the sheets, but if you don’t have one try using a rolling pin and lots of flour to stop it sticking.
Roll out the sheets until they are very thin, then lay them down and blob teaspoons of filling. The spacing and amounts will depend on the size of your pastry cutter.
Use a pastry brush to paint water around the blobs of filling and then lay another sheet of pasta over the top.
Work around each blob to get all the air out and stick the pasta together. Then using a round or square pastry cutter, cut each of the raviolis out. Check the edges to make sure they’re properly stuck, then put them on a plate with a sprinkle of flour to stop them sticking to each other.
¾ fill your largest pan with water and a sprinkle of salt and bring it to a vigorous boil.
Once boiling, chuck in the pasta and make sure they are not sticking together. Cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a big pan, melt the butter and throw in the sage leaves (hold a couple back for serving).
Using a slotted spoon, take the pasta straight out of the water and put it into the butter pan. Toss it around a bit, then pour the whole lot into a big serving dish, or straight on to plates.
Serve with grated parmesan, garlic bread and a nice fresh salad.