I'd been wanting to make superior ravioli's for a long time. I wanted something new and exciting as a filling. Peggy and I have had fun before making our own ricotta cheese and different fillings ... but this time I wanted something really different. I found two recipes on the Internet that called for prosciutto ham and I combined them appropriately to take advantage of different ingredients to create the recipe below. The instructions are mine. It all sounds delicious!
Peggy and I are about to create the ravioli's now, having first made the dough and the filling. We are using one of my pasta making attachments for my Kitchen Aid® mixer to create the thin, wide dough that will be cut out using simple tumblers of different sizes for the bottom and top pieces of dough for each ravioli and for the last step of pressing the two pieces of dough together after the bottom piece has been brushed with egg wash and the filling added. Thus, we are using yet a third tumbler of a smaller size to press the top piece of dough together onto/into the bottom piece of dough, thus making well sealed round ravioli's. Here is something very important that you will read later in this recipe ... make sure the thin, wide dough is no more than 1/16th of an inch thick.
Okay ... all is well. The ravioli's are made. The process works very well. But will they taste exceptional? Ah, yes ... they were great! We each ate six and they were quite filling. I did made some minor changes to this recipe to get perfection, and those changes are reflected below.
As mentioned at the end of this recipe, you will find that a nice tossed salad with Italian dressing goes very well with this dish. Likewise, some freshly made garlic bread. Finally, a nice red wine is perfect ... like a Chianti Classico. Cold beer is a worthy substitute for the wine. Forget about dessert ... you won't need it. You will, of course, have to time the making of the salad and the garlic bread so that it all comes together as soon as the ravioli's are cooked.
I simply heat some Ragu® plain spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce in a plastic wrap covered bowl in the microwave oven just prior to boiling the ravioli's. I serve Parmesan cheese on the side in a bowl, to be sprinkled on the ravioli's, once they have been covered with the warm sauce.
2 lbs of ricotta cheese
1⁄4 lb. of freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
1, 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
2 large or extra large eggs
6 ounces of prosciutto ham, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of pepper
A dash of nutmeg
Put the eggs and the chopped prosciutto into a large mixing bowl. Mix on low to medium speed for one minute.
Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue to mix for one minute.
Add the spinach and mix for two minutes.
Add the pecorino Romano cheese and mix for one minute.
Add the ricotta cheese in 1/3 cup amounts, letting it mix in with the other filling ingredients before doing the next addition.
Stop the mixer, remove the bowl and mix the filling by hand using a wooden spoon.
Dispense the filling into a large, shallow bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup (or a bit more) of water
2 extra large eggs
2 tsp. of olive oil
3/4 tsp. of salt
Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and mix on low speed for a minute.
Add the eggs and mix for two minutes on low to medium speed.
Add the olive oil and continue mixing for one minute.
Set the speed of the mixer to medium.
Add the water in small amounts (one tbsp. at a time) and allow 30 seconds after each addition for the water to incorporate into the dough.
After all of the water has been added, let the dough mix for one minute to see if it comes together well to form a dough. If not, add additional water, one tbsp. at a time, mixing between additions for one minute, until the dough forms.
Remove the dough.
Separate the dough into six approximately equal amounts.
Use your hands to form each piece of dough into a shape two inches wide, 1/2 inch thick, and whatever length results.
Place the pieces of formed dough onto an 18" long piece of plastic wrap such that the dough pieces do not touch each other when the plastic wrap is folded to cover the dough pieces.
Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or longer.
Procedure to make the Ravioli's:
Flour to dust surfaces that will receive the thin sheets of processed ravioli dough and the finished ravioli's.
One 24" long sheet of plastic wrap on a flat counter top, dusted with flour.
One or two large eggs, whisked, then a small amount of water added, followed by whisking, to make an egg wash, which will keep the top and bottom pieces of each ravioli stuck together during handling and later cooking in boiling water.
A pastry brush to apply the egg wash to the bottom piece perimeters of the ravioli's prior to placing the filling onto that piece and then the top piece of dough on the filling.
One 18" long sheet of waxed paper.
One or more dinner plates.
You will create thin, long, wide sheets of dough either as I do or by using a rolling pin. Each sheet of dough will be processed as it is created to make the ravioli's, before making the next sheet of dough. Leftover dough from cutting out the top and bottom ravioli pieces will be added to the next piece of refrigerated dough that will be used to make the next thin sheet of dough. Knead the leftover dough into the piece of refrigerated dough prior to making the next sheet of dough. NOTE: The final thickness of the wide sheets of dough should be no more than 1/16th of an inch thick.
One or more large dinner plates will be used to hold the finished pieces of ravioli prior to cooking, with flour dusted onto each plate and onto the top of each layer of ravioli's prior to applying a sheet of plastic wrap to keep the layers separated. The top side of each sheet of plastic wrap is also to be dusted with flour before adding any pieces of ravioli to create the new layer.
Three tumblers of different sizes are used, such that the middle size is used to make the bottom pieces of the ravioli, the large size used to make the top pieces of the ravioli, and the small size used to press the top dough piece onto/into the bottom dough piece, gently and evenly, after the egg wash and filling have been put onto the bottom piece. Actually, you will find yourself using your fingers to press the top piece of dough around the filling to eliminate air pockets and to lightly contact the top and bottom pieces of dough. Thus, the small tumbler is then used primarily to put pressure onto the perimeter of the top piece of dough to force it to stick to the bottom piece ... though very little pressure is required to accomplish that.
So, after laying the sheet of dough on the flour dusted surface of the plastic sheet, use the medium and large tumblers to cut through the dough, such that the bottom ravioli pieces can be removed to be processed on a sheet of waxed paper. Dust the waxed paper with some flour to make handling and removal of each completed ravioli easier. Peggy used a small plastic spatula with a very thin front end to help lift each ravioli from the waxed paper without deforming it.
Brush the outer 1/2" of the dough surface of the bottom piece with the egg wash.
Add one tbsp. (or more) of the filling. We used a dinner ware tablespoon and visually adjusted the amount until the filling content was a large as we could make it and still get the top and bottom ravioli pieces to seal.
Place the top piece on top of the filling and gently press the dough to form it around the filling without leaving any air bubbles. The top and bottom dough pieces will at this point be touching all around the perimeter. Use the small tumbler to press the top dough piece into the bottom dough piece, gently, to seal the two pieces together. Be careful to avoid having any of the filling in the sealed dough area.
Use the spatula to help move the completed pieces of ravioli onto the dinner plate as described earlier, prior to cooking.
Now, having processed all the dough, you may find you have some leftover filling. You can store it, refrigerated, for a few days, using it with some additional dough. Otherwise, discard it.
At this point you may want to save some of the ravioli's for a future meal. If so, then freeze them on a wax paper covered cookie tray in the deep freeze, then vacuum seal them and put them back into the deep freeze. If you don't have a vacuum sealer then wrap the frozen ravioli's in groups tightly in plastic wrap and put them into a Ziploc® gallon size freezer bag, expel as much air as you can, then store the package in the deep freeze ... and use the ravioli's within one month to avoid freezer burn.
Boil the ravioli's in a large pot in a gallon of lightly salted boiling water, in small batches of six, until each piece floats on the surface of the boiling water. Then boil them for two to three minutes longer to assure the dough is properly cooked. Be sure to check that no piece or pieces stick to the bottom of the pot during boiling or that will cause you to overcook the ravioli's. To unstick a piece, simply put a slotted spoon under it and push gently to release the dough from the bottom of the pot.
Remove each cooked ravioli using a slotted spoon and place it into wide and shallow individual serving bowls.
Serve the ravioli with the warm Ragu® sauce and the Parmesan cheese. You will find that a nice tossed salad with Italian dressing goes very nicely with this dish. Likewise, some freshly made garlic bread. Finally, a nice red wine is perfect ... like a Chianti Classico. Cold beer is a worthy substitute for the wine. Forget about dessert ... you won't need it.