CARROT RAVIOLI WITH SPINACH-PECAN FILLING

12 comments

I think I am pretty intrepid when it comes to trying out new recipes.  Some end up as miserable failures but that does not stop me from approaching them with gusto.  There are exceptions though.....like fresh pasta.  That I am absolutely intimidated by!  It seems so precise.....using Tipo '00' flour, making a well in a mountain of flour, cracking eggs into it, slowing blending the flour into the eggs and then kneading it until just right and rolling it just thin enough.  Pretty daunting for someone whose pasta making experience so far has been limited to dumping dry pasta from a box into boiling water.

But I do love filled pastas....especially the vegetarian ones of this brand.  On a lucky day, I might find them in Costco and that's when I swoop on a few packets to save in the freezer.  That loot disappears eventually and I am left waiting for the next sighting.  The ones I get in my regular grocery store have an eggy aftertaste and although I use eggs in baking, my taste buds don't deal well with egg wash on baked goods and eggy taste in pasta.  

It finally took one inspired evening and a mounting guilt over an unused birthday gift from last year - a lovely looking pasta machine, to make me venture into pasta making - boldly and without a plan B for dinner!


I have often drooled over pretty pasta dough colored with beets and carrots and spinach and so I decided to go big and make a colored pasta.  Since I had a huge bag of carrots at home, it would be orange.  I also did not have the Tipo '00' flour so I went with a mixture of regular all-purpose flour and semolina flour and made the dough without eggs.  Pretty soon, I had an assembly line set up and with the help of my teenager, began cranking out raviolis batch after batch!


The stars were aligned just right that day because the dough came together beautifully in the food processor and a final kneading on the counter resulted in a velvety, pliable dough.  And you should have seen me with the new toy...the pasta machine worked like a charm and I was in flour heaven.  Flour on clothes...flour on the floor..flour in the air...flour everywhere and for once, I wasn't even stressing about clean-up.  I was having too much fun!

The ravioli itself was delicious.  So tender, all it took was the fork pressing gently into it to break in two but with just the right amount of chew thanks to the semolina flour.  The red bell pepper in the filling added some oomph and the pecan gave some more texture.  Not bad for a first attempt!  All it needed to be complete was a drizzle of olive oil and some basil pesto.






Carrot Ravioli (Makes approx. 20 ravioli)

Printable Recipe

Carrot Dough

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup chopped carrots
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Spinach-Pecan Filling

1/2 cup frozen, chopped spinach
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans (you can add any nuts or omit)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3-4 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and black pepper to taste

For the Pasta:

Put the chopped carrots in a microwave-safe bowl, add a tbsp of water and microwave covered for 3-4 mins, until soft.  Keep aside to cool.  (The next time, I will try roasting the carrots)

Add the cooled carrots to the food processor bowl (Save the water in case dough is too dry).  Add salt and the olive oil and blend to a smooth paste.

Add the all-purpose flour and semolina and pulse until it comes together into a smooth but not sticky dough. If the dough seems too wet, add some more flour and if it seems dry, add some water 1 tsp at a time, starting with water remaining from cooking carrots.  The dough should be fairly firm with no trace of stickiness.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 mins until it feels really smooth.

Wrap the ball of dough in saran wrap and let it rest for 1/2 hr while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling:

Microwave the frozen spinach to thaw and when it has cooled a bit, squeeze as much water out of it as possible.

Add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and then add the spinach, chopped pecans, chopped red  bell pepper, chopped basil, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.

Mix everything well and keep aside.

For the Ravioli:

If using the pasta machine, flatten the dough slightly and cut into four portions.

Take one portion and keep the other three covered with the saran wrap.  Lightly dust the piece with flour and run through the pasta machine that has been set at 0.

Fold the dough into thirds and run it through the 0 setting again.  Then run it through the machine, increasing the setting after every pass.  On my machine, I found that #5 was optimum for Ravioli and I would go to #6 if making lasagna sheets etc.  You will get one long sheet, fold it in half and cut into two.

Dust a surface with flour and lay one half sheet flat.  Add scant tablespoons of filling about an inch apart. Lightly dampen with water around the filling using a brush and cover with the other half sheet.

Press around the filling to seal and cut with the ravioli shaped cutter. Dip the cutter in some flour if you find that it is sticking.  Save the scraps and put them back in the food processor with some water (a tsp at a time) until it becomes a dough ball again and reuse until all the filling is over.

Collect all the ravioli on a floured tray or sieve.

Bring some water to a boil.  Salt it well and add a tbsp of olive oil.  Add the ravioli and boil for 3 minutes.

Drain, drizzle with some olive oil and any other pesto/sauce of your choice and serve.

Enjoy!

* Although the food processor and pasta machine makes things simpler, you can certainly knead and roll the dough by hand and cut into squares with a knife instead of a cutter.

* You can also add some parmigiano reggiano cheese and/or mascarpone cheese in the filling

Yum

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for this recipe, you've made it look quite manageable. I'm going to try this one out soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mini! Yes....it is quite simple. I have to say that the pasta machine made it easy but you can certainly roll by hand! I am thinking of the different pastas I can make now :)

      Delete
  2. We love ravioli and so far I made it at home, just once. Back in US, we used to buy the frozen ones at least once a week. I miss it out here, really miss it. I should get a pasta machine right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love ravioli too, Kankana! Makes a complete meal with a salad or roasted vegetables on the side. Having finally used a pasta machine, I must say that it certainly speeds things up and with different types of dough and fillings, one can get really creative :)

      Delete
  3. Love looking at your posts just for the pictures. The action shot of pecans falling into the filling mixture is just fantastic. Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lakshmi! You are too kind :)

      Delete
  4. I love this ravioli, Bina Aunty! It's so tasty and colorful :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Sandhya! I hope you try to make it some time :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow Bina....your hidden talents are emerging....you are making food an exotic experience....visually & gastronomically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shruti :)......and thanks a million for carrying the Hindi newspapers all the way from India for me!

      Delete
  7. I am totally crushing on this Bina! Looks totally divine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a million, Meeta!! You are being too kind:)

      Delete