Fresh Pasta Ravioli - with Spinach and Goat Cheese Filling

Photos by Jon Feldman

          Ravioli can made with wonton wrappers, and that is why I note this as "Fresh Pasta" ravioli. Will will first make a dough that can be used for any fresh pasta and then form and fill them, making the ravioli. The sauce I use here is a simple butter sage sauce to fully highlight the beauty of the spinach and goat cheese filling. You could certainly use one of your favorite sauces, but I think anything with a strong acidic flavor (tomato) will overpower the ravioli.


Pasta Dough 
  • 3 cups "00" Flour - This is double zero flour. A finely milled flour that may be tough to find. A bread flour will work, and if all else fails, All purpose flour.
  • 1 cup Duram Flour - Not as tough to find, and semolina flour will also work. 
  • 3 extra large eggs - maybe 4
  • 3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch of salt
  • A few tsp of water might be needed
Filling for Ravioli

  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 16 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • Salt/pepper/cayenne pepper

Sauce for Ravioli

  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • Salt/pepper
Special tools: Pasta roller

Total Time:1 hour 45 minutes.

This is the "well" known process of making a mess on a work table. I consider that mess to be one of the pure joys of cooking.  You can use a food processor, but this way gives you the proper feel that is needed to work with with doughs. And that's the only way to perfect the process.

Place both flours, and salt in a bowl. I like to mix my flours and salt in that bowl first and then plop them on my work surface.

Now the fun. Make a well in the flour. A pocket in the middle that will hold the eggs and oil as you incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry.

**My photographer friend seems to enjoy getting my mug in these photos, much more than I like being in the them, but I play along. 

Add the olive oil and one egg to the well in the flour.  Use a fork to start mixing the flour into the egg. Don't worry if it starts to overrun your well, just shore up the outer edges as best you can and keep working. Add the other 2-3 eggs, one at a time, until the dough starts to come together.

Crack your eggs in a separate bowl so you can fish out any runaway shell pieces. Easier to do in a bowl than in the flour mixture.

The idea here is to keep forcing more of the flour into the eggs, while maintaining a pliable pasta dough.  With this recipe you will have extra flour on the board that does not get incorporated, but that is intentional to help the process.

Work the dough lightly into a ball. It should not be as pliable as a bread dough, but be sure it had some smoothness to it.

Wrap up your pasta dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can keep the dough for a day, but it starts to darken in  color and the freshness change quickly.

At this point, I start to make my filling. This filling will take about the same time as the pasta needs to rest. Other fillings will vary in production time, so plan accordingly. The rest of the pasta rolling is below.

 Sautee your chopped onions in 4 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat, until translucent.  Add the spinach right on top of the onions and turn the heat to medium. Spice with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Once the spinach has wilted completely, turn the heat down to low and mix in the goat cheese. The goat cheese should melt and turn the mixture a very nice light green. Set the filling aside and let cool.  You can make this a day ahead a keep in the fridge, but I recommend getting it to room temperature before stuffing the ravioli.

Now for the long part of this process. Rolling, rolling, rolling.  I have used my portable pasta roller, but you can use a rolling pin if that's all you have.

Cut the ball of dough into quarters and work quickly so the dough does not dry out.  One quarter at a time, take each piece and form it into a torpedo shape. On the thickest setting of your pasta roller, feed the dough into the machine lengthwise.  Use one hand to feed the machine, one to crank the roller, and one to catch and guide the dough as it comes out. See the problem here. Not to worry, you will get the hang of it by the time you are done, as you will roll quite a few times.

The plan here is to make some long thin even sheets.  I will work with the output a little each time, cutting and shaping to get the end product in a form easiest for the final product.

Run the dough through the roller twice at each level. After level 2, the pasta should start to get too long to work as just one unit. Cut the piece into 2 to 4 sections at this point and continue to run each piece of dough through each level of the roller twice.  When I get to 5, I call it a day for thickness. Set the sheets aside on a floured surface, and continue on to the rest of the pasta dough.

Once the dough sheets are thin enough, its time to form and fill the ravioli.  The first thing I like to do is trim the edges of the sheets to form nice rectangles. Take the cut pieces of dough and put them with  dough you haven't sheeted yet.

 Next, cut the long rectangle sheet into smaller rectangle pieces to be filled for each ravioli.  Place a teaspoon of filling toward one end of the rectangle.  If you keep the pieces in a row, you can use your egg wash efficiently to paint all the edges of each ravioli - to be used as glue to hold them together.

Paint all the edges of each ravioli with egg wash and fold to form.  Press down on the edges to assure their are no gaps on the edges. It's a terrible feeling to see your hard work flow out into the water when cooking.

Once all your ravioli are formed, you can cook immediately; place them one layer thick on a sheet pan in the fridge or the freezer, until ready to use. 

When ready to use, boil plenty of water for your pasta, usually more than you think, and boil for 2 - 4 minutes, or until they float. Fresh ravioli will cook very fast, and frozen will be cool fast. 

The sauce for this recipe is simple, so as to highlight the pasta.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a large flat pan.  Turn the heat down to a medium low when the butter had melted, and add your sage leaves.  Salt and pepper to taste. Give the sage a few minutes to incorporate into the butter, but don't let your butter brown.

Add your ravioli's directly to the sauce pan and cook for a few minutes more, moving the pasta around the pan often to thoroughly coat with sauce. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

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