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Confit and spinach ravioli|How to teach an old dog…

I made ravioli last week, for the first time since returning from school.  The husband said they were “blog-worthy,” which is pretty high praise from him (not that he’s stingy on the praise, but he doesn’t throw it around disingenuously).   And seeing as I’ve been wanting to post more here, I’m posting the recipe.  I don’t have a photo*, so I waffled a bit about putting anything up, but I’m also working on being okay with less than perfect, especially when there are no consequences.  This blog is supposed to be fun, right?

So, no more words – except, the husband is right; these were really good.  I made up the recipe as I went along, which isn’t something I do that often and is really a testament to the fact that you can teach yourself to cook (or do anything, I think), no matter what your age or background or skill.  It’s just years and years of copying, and trying, and eating, and most of all, loving doing it, even when it’s awful.  Loving the disappointment of it, because that’s where all the learning is.

Cheers.

Confit and Spinach Ravioli

(adapted from no one, or everyone, depending on how you look at it)

Pasta dough
100 grams of flour per 1 extra large egg
pinch of salt
(This filling recipe made enough to fill 200 grams of flour and 2 eggs)

Measure the flour and salt into a bowl and mix a bit.  In another small bowl, beat egg(s).  Pour egg(s) into flour and blend with a fork.  Blend some more.  Scrape everything off the fork back into the bowl and blend some more (mash the fork into the mixture).  The more you blend, the better the egg will incorporate.  It’ll look pretty raggedy.  Clean your hands and then try to mush the dough up to make a cohesive ball (it’ll look like hell, don’t worry about it).  If it really refuses to stay in a ball, you can add a very small amount of water.  Try again.  No ball?  A little more water.  Try again.  It really should be more or less staying in a ball by now.  Turn it out onto a floured board (or table if it’s clean), clean your hand (because it’s covered in doughy gook by now) and knead the dough for 10 minutes.  This will be hard.  It’s very tiring.  Keep adding flour as you need to, and keep picking up the little stray bits that try to escape as you keep kneading.  After 10 minutes, you should have a lovely, elastic, uniform, pale yellow, very slightly sticky (but not too much), ball of pasta.  Wrap that in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while you make the filling (pasta dough needs to rest – not sure how long, but I think it’s at least 30 minutes – I just let it sit until the filling is done).

Filling
2 chicken confit chicken legs**
1 pound of bunched spinach, stemmed (about a bag of the prewashed stuff), chopped
1/2 cup raisins, chopped fine***
1 cup chopped mushrooms (I recommend cremini)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 onion, sliced
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 TSP ground cumin
white wine (or stock or water)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, preferably NOT non-stick (but non-stick is ok).  Add onions and fry until they get soft and start to brown.  Add garlic and cook for just a little longer, until it’s not raw, but don’t cook them into oblivion (about 30 seconds to a minute).  Add mushrooms and cook until they get soft, release their liquid and smell yummy (if you’re not sure if they are soft, taste one – if it’s good to eat, it’s done).  Add spinach and cook until it’s wilted and small.  Add the cumin and stir in well.  At this point, add some white wine, water or stock to deglaze the brownness off the pan (if you have a non-stick pan, you won’t have brownness, but that’s ok – you can add the liquid anyway).  Cook the liquid off, but don’t let the pan brown again.  Add raisin and stir them in really well.  If the pan does brown again, just deglaze it again.  Turn off heat and add walnuts.  Let it all cool a bit and then add some salt and pepper to taste (not too much).  Let cool a bit more (it’s ok to be a bit warm) and put in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Roughly process until you have a really chunky paste.

Assembly****

Roll the pasta out to mark 8 on a hand cranked pasta machine (you can roll them out with a rolling pin, but man are you going to be tired).  Fill the ravioli by making a little mound of filling on one side of a strip of pasta and then folding it over, closing the three open sides by pressing them with the tines of a fork.  Put ravioli waiting to be boiled on a floured board or cookie sheet.  Do this until you run out of pasta dough or out of filling.

Cooking ravioli

Bring a large pot of water to boil and drop ravioli in.  Stir them gently so they don’t stick, let them come back up to a soft boil and turn the heat down.  Put a couple of plates in the oven at about 400 for a couple of minutes and then turn it off.  In a NONSTICK frying pan, heat some butter (or oil if you prefer).  Get a skimmer or slotted spoon (or something else that will let you drain most of the water away), take some of the ravioli out of the water and put in the frying pan.  Fry them until golden on both sides and then remove them onto one of the plates in the oven (use a MITT or you’ll burn your hand!!).  Finish frying all ravioli like this, adding more butter or oil as needed.  Once they are done, split them up between the plates.  Add some more butter or oil to the pan and a couple of cloves of mashed garlic.  After a couple of minutes, drizzle this on top of your plated ravioli.  Serve with red pepper flakes and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

*Ravioli are tricky to photograph at night – they get cold quickly and you really need a photo setup, which is something we will have someday, but not today
**Here is a link to a recipe for confit – you can confit anything (it will take you some time) so this can be a vegetarian meal.  You could also just use regular old chicken legs or some other kind of complementary (sometimes I think that all my biz school education was to learn the difference between “complementary” and “complimentary”) meat or non-meat substitute
*** When I say “1/2 cup chopped” I mean that the amount should equal 1/2 cup after it’s chopped, not before.  It’s quite a difference.  This way you can just take some stuff, start chopping, throw it in your measurer and keep chopping until you get to the right amount.
****This recipe assumes you have some experience making ravioli.  If you don’t, check here for some help.  You don’t need to use semolina flour, use the well method for the eggs, or use a ravioli cutter as she does, but at least this give you an idea of how ravioli is made.  I will look for another video using my method (or I’ll make one!)

3 Comments

  1. David says:

    We made ravioli about a year ago, and they turned out awesome — they weren’t the prettiest things in the world (we don’t have a pasta roller, so did them by hand. Turns out it’s hard to cut out nice square-shaped ravioli that way. Also, we were tired at the end), but they sure were tasty. Homemade pasta is so much better than store-bought!
    David´s last blog post ..D- Easy meals- part 4

  2. Kathlyn says:

    I agree with you on the homemade pasta – it is sooooooo much better than store bought. It’s amazing. And it’s incredibly tiring just kneading the pasta dough, so I’m impressed that you hand rolled the ravioli! I really recommend having a hand powered pasta machine; we hardly ever use if for cutting, but it makes rolling so much easier and you get really consistent thickness. Happy eating!!

  3. […] you don’t, here is a video that explains the process fairly well. You can also look at this post for […]

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