Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tortolloni (or "Ravioli") Stuffed with Spinach, Proscuitto and Ricotta and Tomato Butter Sauce

Everyone knows homemade pasta is of another breed than storebought pasta... it is impossible to express in words... just try it and you will understand.

This reminds me of the pasta Brandon and I ate while sitting on the terrace at the villa we stayed in in Tuscany on our honeymoon... ahh I wish I could go back...

This recipe, from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, calls for Swiss Chard or Spinach.  I used frozen, thawed spinach, which was fine and saved a lot of work.  The filling also had prosciutto, onion, ricotta, egg, butter, grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of nutmeg.  So good.

Here are instructions on how to make Homemade Pasta Dough with Three Eggs, which this recipe calls for.  This is fun and relatively easy project, although it does take some time.  It is a great way to spend an overcast Sunday afternoon (especially if you can convince your husband to help you! :-))



2 pounds Swiss chard, if the stalks are very thin, or 2 1/2 pounds if the stalks are broad, or 2 lbs fresh
spinach (NOTE: I used 2 10-oz packages of frozen spinach, thawed, which I cooked for about  3 minutes in boiling water, drained, and then squeezed the excess water from).
2 1/2 Tbs onion, chopped very fine
3 1/2 Tbs chopped prosciutto (or pancetta or unsmoked boiled ham)
3 Tbs butter
1 cup fresh ricotta (see how to make your own!)
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Tomato Butter Sauce:

1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, cut up with their juices 
5 Tbs butter
1 medium onion, cut in half
4 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


Homemade yellow pasta dough with three eggs, 1 2/3 cups unbleached flour, and 1 Tbs. milk.



1.  If using Swiss chard or fresh spinach: Remove stalks from Swiss chard or stems from fresh spinach and then soak the leaves in a several changes of cold water.  Gently scoop out the leaves without shaking them, and put them in a pot with just the water that clings to them.  Add large pinches of salt to keep the vegetable green, cover the pot, turn on the heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 12 minutes, depending on the frehshness of the vegetable.  Drain, and as soon as it is cool enough to handle, squeeze it gently to drive out as much moisture as possible, and chop it very fine.  

If using frozen spinach: cook thawed spinach in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain, and as soon as it is cool enough to handle, squeeze it gently to drive out as much moisture as possible.  Chop it fine.

2.  In a small saute pan, put the onion, prosciutto, and butter and turn on the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until onion becomes translucent, then add the chopped chard or spinach.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until all the butter is absorbed.

3.  Turn out the contents of the pan into a bowl, Add the ricotta, egg yolk, grated Parmesan, and a grating of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp) and mix with a fork until ingredients are evenly combined.  Taste and correct for salt.


Combine tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt and cook at a slow, steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free of the tomato.  Stir from time to time, mashing any large pieces of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.  Taste and correct for salt.  Discard the onion before tossing with the pasta.


Make Homemade Pasta Dough with three eggs.   Roll it into sheets approximately 4 inches thick.  Place approximately 1 tsp. of filling every 2 inches along one side.  Fold the dough over the filling, creating a long tube that encloses the filling.  Use a fluted pastry wheel to trim the joined edges of hte tube, to seal it all around.  With the same wheel, cut across the tube between every mound of stuffing, separating it into squares.  (SEE PICTURES ABOVE).  Spread the squares out on clean, dry, cloth towels, making sure they do not touch while the dough is still soft.  Turn the squares from time to time as they dry.  Cook the ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water until edges are al dente

Drain and put into a warm serving bowl.

Toss gently with the sauce, and 4 Tbs. Parmesan cheese.

Serve with more freshly grated Parmesan.


~ Anya

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