Spinach Ravioli in a Walnut Cream Sauce

Spinach and ricotta ravioli in a walnut cream sauce

I normally have (or take) a couple of hours everyday to myself. I normally use that time to tweet, blog, watch TV shows, or shop. But for the last month, I’ve used that time to study for my DELE exam (Spanish Cerification exam). The exam was last friday, and I think I did well. I now have my one hour a day all to myself, and I am gonna use it all up on this blog.

There used to be a restaurant in Savannah, GA (they’ve closed it down now), called Il Pasticcio. I’ve been there many times, with friends and also on a couple of dates with my (now) husband. They had an impressive wine collection and an authentic Italian menu. The first time we were there as a girls night out, me and 3 of my best friends, and we ordered the Spinach Ravioli in a walnut cream sauce. It was luscious, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. My friend and I tried to re-create the sauce many times, but never managed the exact taste. It’s been 5 years and I still had not stopped trying, something will remind me of that sauce once a year and I’ll try it out. Finally, in another continent, in another city, also steeped in history, I got it right. It isn’t just the sauce, but the sauce with the exact same pasta that did the trick. I made this a while back, but I haven’t had the time to write a post about it. (Sorry Nids!)

I’ve already written about how to make fresh pasta. To make the dough for the spinach ravioli, I just added a bit of pureed spinach while I was mixing the pasta dough. You don’t have to, but it kinda looks pretty and green. Or you could just buy wanton wrappers and fill them in with the spinach filling. Been there, done that.

Spinach Ravioli in a Walnut Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

Ravioli

Fresh pasta sheets (or wanton wrappers)
Fresh spinach – 2 cups
Fresh ricotta – 1/2 cup
Olive oil – 1tsp
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Grated nutmeg – a pinch
Salt and Pepper to taste

Walnut Cream Sauce

Walnuts – 1 cup
Cream – 1 cup
Water – 1/2 cup
Butter – 1 tbsp
Shallot – 1 medium, chopped fine
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Lemon zest – 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

To make the filling: Wash and chop the spinach. Heat oil in a pan, and add the garlic. Don’t let it burn. Add all the spinach. It may look like a lot, but it will wilt down. Once the spinach has wilted down, add salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Take off the heat. If there is a lot of water off the spinach, drain it off. Add the ricotta and mix well.

To make the sauce:
1. Roast the walnuts on a pan, till they smell nutty. Grind the walnuts into a coarse powder.
2. Add butter to a pan, and once the butter melts, add the shallots and sweat them a bit. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Add the cream, walnuts and water and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and let it boil for another 3-5 minutes.
5. Take off the heat and stir in the lemon zest.

Assemble your ravioli: If you are using wonton wrappers or fresh pasta sheets, lay the sheets out on your counter, fill in with a teaspoon of filling and cover with another sheet. Make a production like this if you must.

Cook your ravioli: Lots of salted boiling water, add the ravioli in batches and once they float to the top (2-3 min) they are done.

Serve: Ladle the sauce on top of the ravioli (less is more, it’s quite a rich sauce), drizzle of good olive oil and serve immediately. With some nice crusty bread to mop the sauce up.

Tips:

1. The sauce tastes better the next day (keeps for a couple of days in the fridge) so save the sauce and top off next night’s dinner with it: chicken, fish, or just a bowl of spaghetti.

2. If the sauce is too thick (it gets thicker as it cools) add a ladle of pasta water to thin it down.

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