I’ve had a container of butternut squash puree in the refrigerator begging for my attention for a few days. Adding their voices to the chorus were a log of chevre (fresh goat cheese) and a big zipper bag FULL of fresh spinach. Someone who has a more realistic concept of what they can accomplish in a given day and not completely exhaust themselves would buy a package of wonton wrappers, plop a bit of squash and chevre on them, seal them shut, and have perfectly delicious ravioli. Heaven knows we did this on a daily basis at one of my restaurant gigs.
But I cannot do that because I am INSANE and/or suspect I have symptoms of ADHD, so I’m making fresh spinach pasta for my ravioli wrappers. It really isn’t *that* hard, anyhow, and it’s fun. And my 7yo will be home from school in time to help roll out the dough, which he loves to do. (No, he won’t eat this, are you kidding?)
Start with either thawed frozen spinach or fresh spinach. If you’ve got fresh spinach, cook it in boiling water until it’s wilted and tender, about 30 seconds. Drain it and put it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain again and squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove excess water. From here, either mince the spinach by hand or in the food processor.
I haven’t made fresh pasta all that many times in my life, so I’m still not sure of the best technique for mixing the dough. I went with the food processor at first because it was already out. Spinach, flour, salt, olive oil, and the two eggs specified by the recipe went for a spin in the processor, yielding what looked like greenish sand. I added another egg, because the co-op only had mediums in bulk this week, and processed it until it looked like slightly lumpy greenish sand. At that point I added back in some of the green water I’d squeezed out of the spinach, which gave me BRIGHT GREEN lumpy sand. One more egg and I finally had dough! At this point the processor started to complain about being asked to knead this business, so out it came. I worked at it for a minute, adding flour because I’d added too much moisture, before deciding that this really was a task for the stand mixer. Into the mixer it went for a couple minutes, with me holding the bowl in place (it really hates to cooperate with stiff dough sometimes). When I got tired of fighting with the mixer, I took the dough out and formed it into four balls and covered it with plastic wrap.
At this point, one might consider sitting down with a good book and a cup of tea for half an hour while the dough rests. Again, because I am nuts, I did the following: made a cup of tea, washed a sinkful of dishes, reminded myself to eat lunch three times, fed the cats, began mentally drafting a blog post, remembered that I’d made tea, finally grabbed last night’s leftover empanadas, grabbed my laptop off its precarious perch on the kitchen bookcase, and sat down to eat, check the internets, and draft a blog post. At this point I realized that I had nearly an hour until the 7yo gets home from school and that he’ll want to help roll out pasta, so I somehow still have time to knit and drink my tea despite everything on my to-do list.
So the kid came home and did not allow himself to be photographed helping roll out dough, nor did he help for long. But I rolled out half the dough and turned it into ravioli before losing interest. Or rather, before getting tired of how ugly my ravioli were turning out.
But hey – a quick dip in boiling water and a visit to a pan where I’ve fried sage leaves in butter will make even the ugliest ravioli super delicious!
Oh, I suppose I should talk about the filling. I cooked and pureed one butternut squash the other day, which gave me about two cups of puree. I added about 2 oz of chevre to that and also salt, pepper, and nutmeg. I used about a teaspoon of this mixture per raviolo. It was tasty, but it was not picturesque.
I still have half the dough to play with, and I think I’ll make it into lasagne soon. I haven’t made lasagne in ages and never with fresh pasta, so why not? The 9yo will be all over it, probably. The 7yo won’t touch it because he’s stubborn. I don’t know where he gets it from.