Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentines Day: Main Course

To celebrate our first Valentines Day as a married couple I put a lot of time and effort scrambled last minute to come up with something to make it “special”.  The hubby and I have never been the type of couple to go all out gushy-gushy like for Valentines Day.  We are those people who think “we celebrate our love every day”.  Corny, I know, but we can’t help it!  We decided to stay in because we have done the “dress up for the big romantic dinner out” thing, and the crowded restaurant with four menu choices have left a lot to be desired. 

So here’s the lowdown on what I came up with for our romantic night: four cheese spinach ravioli with alfredo sauce – BOOM!  I felt confident that I could bring the romance with this recipe (minus the garlic breath).  I know I just made ravioli’s, but those were premade, and plus I was itching to let my new pasta machine make its début.

The recipe is just for the homemade raviolis because the alfredo sauce is a secret family recipe I will take do the grave!  You can use your own alfredo sauce recipe or you could try the butter garlic sauce I made here.


9 ounces fresh spinach
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 cloves of garlic
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons Romano cheese + extra for topping
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt


3 ½ cups flower
4 eggs


First de-stem and wash your spinach.  I like to use a lettuce spinner!


Melt the butter in a frying pan and add garlic.  Saute garlic until soft, but not brown, and add spinach.  Cook down the spinach for 2-3 minutes.  While your spinach is cooking add the ricotta cheese, egg, cream, cheeses, and salt to your food processer.  Add spinach and blend for 2 minutes until everything is incorporated.  Set the filling aside.

Measure your flower and make a well.  Mix in the eggs and add water to make dough. 

Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.  I found that with this recipe the dough was very stiff, and did not incorporate well so I added water to loosen the dough up.  When the pasta was cooked the raviolis were a bit tough, so next time I think I will use a different recipe.  However, the hubby liked the texture and taste of the dough.  So if you like a thick and hearty ravioli you might light this recipe.      

The next step is to roll the dough out slightly on a floured surface and feed it into the pasta machine.  My first attempt at using the pasta machine I tried to stuff the dough into the machine without rolling it out first, which resulted in an epic fail.  After a phone call to mom, who cleared things up by telling me I had to roll the dough out first, the sheets of ravioli were good to go. 

I first rolled the dough out in the pasta machine on the 5 setting, which makes a thicker pasta sheet, and then switched to a 2 or 3 the second time I rolled the dough out to make a thinner sheet. 

I then placed the pasta sheets on top of each other and used a pizza cutter to cut out square like shapes.  You can also use a ravioli mold or press, which I didn't have, hence this pizza cutter method! 

I then plopped a good sized dollop of ravioli filling in the center and sealed the edges with a fork.  I did not use egg to seal the edges, as some people like to do, but my raviolis managed to stay intact throughout the cooking process.   

Since it was my first time making homemade raviolis some of the filling spilled out, but otherwise it was pretty easy! 

I will issue this disclaimer however: this was a LONG process.  I started at 4:00, and although I wasn’t as swift in the process as I could have been, we didn’t end up eating until 8:00.  Making the dough and filling all the raviolis, along with making alfredo sauce, was a long process!  However, it was totally worth it for the yummy dinner we got to enjoy!!


Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!