Updated: Jun 22
We had a version of this ravioli when we stayed in L'Aquila at B&B Bone Novelle, on our way to Penne in the region of Abruzzo (recipe link). Check the our post about our last visit to Italy. We showed up at around noon, and the family who owns and runs the place was making spinach ravioli for lunch.
That's right! They were making ravioli by hand for lunch. (They made it look so easy.) They sat us down in their courtyard garden and asked if we'd like to have some. Well, of course we would. It was simple and delicious. Big, fluffy ravioli tossed in olive oil and sage to finish. While many of us would shy away from making ravioli by hand for lunch, we encourage you to give this a shot for dinner. The dough and filling can both be made a day or two ahead of time, reducing the overall preparation and cooking time to about 45 minutes.
And while, yes, technically this is called "agnolotti" because it's folded on one side as opposed to being crimped on all sides, it still falls under the delicious, accepting, non-presumptuous, I'll-be-friends-with-anyone category of ravioli. A square is a square, but it is also a rectangle. So make them whatever shape you want, just make them!
2 (hearty) servings
Paint brush (small, ¼” wide tip)
FOR THE DOUGH
100g type 00 flour (¾ cup)
100g semolina flour (¾ cup)
pinch of salt
splash of e.v.o.o. (about ½ tablespoon)
FOR THE FILLING
4oz fresh baby spinach (small box)
6oz whole milk ricotta (⅔ cup)
15g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about ¼ cup) + more for serving
1 teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, rough chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons e.v.o.o.
1---Combine the flours and pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Crack eggs into center of well and begin folding in flour from the edges with a wooden spoon. When the ingredients begin to meld, switch to using your hands and continue to pull from the edges into the center until a loose, shaggy dough forms.
2---Empty bowl contents onto a floured work surface, add a dash of olive oil, and knead until a smooth, somewhat elastic dough forms, a few minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap, or cover with a clean, dampened kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. You can also store plastic-wrapped dough in the fridge for a couple of days before using, but make sure to pull it out and allow it to come back to room temperature before the next step.
3---Rough chop the spinach, and fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. If you have a colander that fits into your pot, use it for this next step. If not, just do the straining of the cooked spinach quickly. Add the spinach to the boiling water and mix to submerge. Remove after 10 seconds, strain, and transfer directly to the ice bath to halt cooking. After a minute, strain cold water and wring out excess moisture from the spinach with your hands. Mix spinach with remaining filling ingredients. The filling can be done a day or two ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
4---Flour your work surface, cut off 1/4 of the dough and cover the remaining with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Roll out the dough. Start from the center and roll out to the sides, alternating your direction and trying to keep it even as you flatten the dough. Flour and flip as needed to prevent sticking. Pasta dough is not elastic like pizza dough and will not stretch by itself, so you can roll it onto the pin and lift it up to flip. Keep working until you have a large disc that is about 1-1.5mm thick.
5---Here’s my favorite part. Be loose with shapes! Obviously, a square, rectangle, or circle is easiest to fill because it’s symmetrical, but in the name of efficiency and speed, I try to use off-cuts as well. For instance, I fill the triangle off-cuts and get triangle ravioli. The dough thickness doesn’t change so the cooking time will remain the same. In general, one piece should be in the neighborhood of 4”x4”. Use about ⅔ of a tablespoon for each one. Brush half of the perimeter with water and folder over the other half. Use a fork to imprint the edges to prevent the ravioli from opening while being boiled. As you begin to work the last quarter of dough, put a large pot (10-12 quarts) half-filled with water over high heat & cover.
6---Once the water boils, add about 2 tablespoons of salt to it and place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Gently add all the ravioli to the boiling water, stir, and cover to return the water to boiling. Add the butter & e.v.o.o. to the warmed sauté pan. Once the butter has melted, add the sage and a pinch of salt, and stir. Uncover the pot of ravioli, it should now be boiling again. As the ravioli cook over the course of the next few minutes, keep an eye on the heat of the sauté pan allowing the butter to brown but not burn. Lower it if needed. The ravioli will bob on the surface when done, about 2-3 minutes at full boil. Turn off the ravioli burner and move the pot beside the sauté pan on medium heat. Use one hand to scoop out ravioli with a skimmer or slotted spoon, letting excess water drain, and add to the pan. Use the other hand to gently toss the pan with each addition to coat the ravioli. Flip a few more times once all ravioli have been added. Plate and finish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Enjoy!