You’ll know by now, I’m married to an Italian American and it was John’s mother who introduced me to olive oil and garlic. She, and John’s grandmother, were imaginative and thrifty cooks who knew how to make the best of almost any ingredient. That knowledge came down to me, inspired me, and though we’re lucky enough to enjoy a wider range of ingredients – mostly organic and locally sourced… nothing processed – I owe much to this heritage. It’s the basis of the Californian-Italian fusion that makes up the majority of the recipes in Poseidon Cooks!
Ravioli with a Meat and Spinach Filling
What you need:
Homemade pasta (click here for the recipe but use one and a half times the quantities)
6 ounces uncooked spinach 10 ounces ground beef (We insist on naturally raised beef but prefer the taste of grain-finished beef to only grass-fed. Our ultimate rule is – no factory farming.)
10 ounces Italian sausage (click here for my recipe for Homemade Garlic Sausage. If you’re going to use store-bought sausage, use the hot Italian sausage not the sweet Italian variety with fennel.)
3/4 cup grated asiago cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt & Pepper
Italian Americans tend to use a lot of garlic but that’s not the case in Italy, where it’s used more to bring out the other flavors rather than for its own taste. In Italy, the cook will often leave the garlic in big chunks for the cooking but then remove it before serving.
A variation/addition: some people like to add mortadella to the ingredients. Personally, I prefer to stay with the beef and the sausage but cooking and taste are very personal and you might want to try this variation to see if it works better for you and your family and friends.
What you do:
Steam the spinach lightly. It’s very important to remove all the liquid from the spinach, which does hold a surprising quantity. One way to do this is to use a ricer after you’ve drained the spinach. Add the drained, pressed spinach to the food processor.
Crumble the ground beef and sausage in a frying pan and sauté with the garlic, until cooked through. Add the meat to the spinach in the processor and run the processor to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Do not add the cheese to the processor because it will become gummy and spoil the texture of the filling.
Turn the processed meat and spinach into a bowl. Add the cheese, the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Chill the ingredients in the fridge until ready to fill the ravioli.
There are several ways to form the ravioli. You can use a special ravioli rolling pin, ravioli cutters or cookie cutters. You can roll out sheets of pasta, drop small spoonfulls of filling in a row, cover with another sheet of pasta and cut into squares with a rotary cutter. If I’m making a small quantity of large-sized ravioli I like to use a ravioli cutter. But if we’re making a large quantity we usually use a ravioli tray.
To use the tray method, start by dusting the tray with flour (very important to keep the dough from sticking to the tray!). Lay a sheet of pasta on the tray then use the mold to gently push the dough down to make indentations for the filling.
Spoon in the filling, brush the pasta lightly with water so the pasta will “glue” together and cover with a second sheet of pasta.
Use a rolling pin to press the layers together and cut the pasta into individual ravioli. Turn the tray upside and tap to release the ravioli.
To cook the ravioli:
Place the ravioli in salted, boiling water and cook until the ravioli float to the top, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon into a bowl and top with your sauce of choice.
Spinach Ravioli with a Cheese Filling
What you need:
Spinach pasta (click here for the recipe)
4 ounces ricotta
2 ounces fontina
1 ounce combination of asiago and parmigiana, or one or the other
1 egg, beaten
Dash of nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
What you do:
Thoroughly mix the cheeses together in a bowl. Add the beaten egg and continue to mix until you have a creamy consistency. Add a dash of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Chill the cheese filling in the fridge until ready to assemble the ravioli. Follow the assembly and cooking directions in the Ravioli with a Meat and Spinach recipe.
The Three Sauces I made three sauces to serve with the two kinds of ravioli – a traditional Bolognese, a Red Meat Sauce and a Pink Sauce. (Click on the individual sauces for links to the recipes.)We combined the Spinach Ravioli with the Bolgonese Sauce (one of the best things I’ve tasted in a long time!) and with the Pink Sauce. And the Meat Ravioli with the Pink Sauce and the Red Meat Sauce. All delicious!!