ravioli

Easy One Pot Ravioli and Spinach

by Anne Maxfield on November 25, 2019

Having spinach and ravioli on hand and finding this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, that looked too good to be true, was my incentive to give it a try. Serves 4:

Easy One Pot Ravioli and Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (from a salad-ready container)
  • Salt and black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 18 ounces refrigerated or frozen ravioli
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Heat broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

In medium-large (mine is 10 inches) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and add garlic. Cook until garlic is barely golden, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add spinach and few pinches of salt, and cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste. Use tongs or a spoon to transfer garlic and spinach to a bowl.

Place ravioli and 1/2 cup water, and a healthy pinch of salt in the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Place a lid on top and let steam for 3 to 5 minutes (the longer time for frozen). Check a piece of ravioli to see that it’s heated through and tender.

Spoon the mascarpone in tiny dollops around the ravioli. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spinach and sprinkle the top of the pan with parmesan. Broil until the ravioli are browned in places, about 3 to 6 minutes, depending on how robust your broiler is. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I was skeptical when I saw this recipe, because of the relatively small amount of water for cooking the ravioli. If it wasn’t from Smitten Kitchen, I never would have tried it, but it’s a source I trust and it worked perfectly. My frozen ravioli took about 5 minutes.

The only problem I ran into was that my ravioli stuck to the bottom of the pan and got ripped up when I tried to serve them. Making sure there was some oil on the bottom of the pan or switching to a non-stick pan might have helped, or gently turning the ravioli before adding the mascarpone and spinach.

It tasted pretty good but needs plenty of salt at every step. Next time, I might skip the mascarpone and use some goat cheese. More flavor and usually found in my fridge. Removing some Italian sausage from its casing and sautéing it before doing the spinach would add some protein and flavor too. What do you think?

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Advanced Pasta Class at Sprout Creek Farm

by Anne Maxfield on March 26, 2018

Accidental Locavore Tortellini PastaHave you ever wondered how to make stuffed pasta? I’ve made plenty of fresh pasta, but never really ventured past that, into ravioli and tortellini.

I got my chance recently at an “Advanced Pasta” class at Sprout Creek Farm.

Mark, the executive director and chef, lead a trio of us through preparing the dough, cutting it and shaping it into ravioli, tortellini, mezzaluna, etc.

Accidental Locavore Mark Making Pasta DoughWe got a lot of hands-on opportunities to help roll out the dough and then use it to cut and shape all the different stuffed pastas. I never knew that the more you worked the dough through the rollers that it starts to develop a sheen.

Some pasta shapes like ravioli or mezzalunas are pretty easy, but the round tortellini require some practice. We also learned to cut and shape things like rigatoni, which with the help of the handle of a wooden spoon turns out to be super easy.

Accidental Locavore Stuffed PastaWhile you’ve probably always heard about adding the water from the cooked pasta to whatever sauce you’re making to thicken the sauce and help it stick to the pasta, for me it’s always an abstract idea. I’ll occasionally toss in a splash of water from the pasta, with no purpose (which is probably why the results were never spectacular). Mark’s had a lot of experience training in Boston’s North End and has the pasta water/sauce thing down. He took the time and showed us how it worked. The two super-quick sauces he made were great!  They had little in them but pasta, the water, a splash of olive oil or butter some chopped veggies and a sprinkling of cheese. In this case, some of the fine cheeses that Sprout Creek is famous for. The second one was almost the same, but he added a beaten egg and some breadcrumbs in his version of a carbonara. BTW, if you think that adding breadcrumbs to pasta is just loading on the carbs, try it and then thank me in the comments.

Accidental Locavore Pasta Class QuicheBefore class, Mark was kind enough to share his quiche recipe with me. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with anything, or why you’d care. I’d been at an event he catered a few days earlier and was told that I must try the quiche, it was amazing, and it was! By far, the best quiche I’ve ever had. So, it was great that he shared his recipe (technique really) and will have to give it a try. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Since the class, whether it’s just laziness, lack of motivation or dealing with too much snow and downed trees, I haven’t made pasta or quiche, but not to worry, it will be on the menu soon!

 

 

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