Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Vegan/Vegetarian

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce

Nicoletta February 21, 2020

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Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce.  A classic pasta dish that we typically make for a Sunday lunch. Tender, beautiful, homemade noodles, stuffed with a creamy mixture of ricotta, spinach and nutmeg. Served with a simple basil tomato sauce and topped with grated Parmigiano, these ravioli will transport you to Italy at your first bite. 

Song of the day: A Sunday Kind Of Love – Etta James

Making homemade pasta dough on a Sunday morning to have it ready for our Sunday lunch is one of my most beloved and recurrent memories. Whether fettuccine, spaghetti, gnocchi, lasagna, or ravioli, it just wouldn’t be Sunday without a traditional homemade pasta dish. I am keeping this tradition alive, and today I present you with a wonderful classic: Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci, Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce.

 

 

 The Homemade Pasta Dough

Making homemade pasta dough is pretty easy and it’s the same for many different pasta shapes. The rule is 1 egg to 100 grams of flour, and that makes enough pasta for 2 people. For 4, I used 2 large eggs and 200 grams of flour type 00. Very fine, with a higher gluten content, 00 flour is the type of flour we normally use, also in combination with the coarser semolina flour (semola rimacinata in Italian). A pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of olive oil are two options that my family never used. The olive oil makes the dough more elastic and also easier to work. So that’s totally up to you. Sometimes I add it, sometimes I don’t, especially when I am making dough my mother who is a purist. While kneading, we usually add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry.

Food processor or wood board?

I am still in Rome and using my parents’ kitchen, where to make the dough we have always used a ‘spianatoia‘ (wood board). You can use a food processor, a stand mixer, or a board like me.  A wood board is preferable to a marble top because of its rougher texture which will create a coarser texture in the pasta which, in return, will translate to more sauce sticking to the noodles.

The process
  • On the wood board, pour the flour, make a hole in the center and add the eggs.
  • Beat the eggs with a fork and start incorporating a little flour. 
  • Keep beating the eggs incorporating more of the inner edge of the flour ‘wall’ until the flour starts absorbing the eggs.
  • Once the eggs are blended in the flour, and you have somewhat of a raggedy dough, start working it.
  • Work the dough with your fingertips first to release some moisture. Add a few drops of water if necessary.
  • Then, knead vigorously for a few minutes using your whole hand, folding and turning.
  • As soon as the dough is smooth, shape it into a ball, cover it with a cloth or a bowl, or wrap it in plastic, and let it rest  for 30 minutes. The gluten will relax and you will have a more elastic dough.
  • While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. In a bowl add the ricotta and the chopped boiled spinach. TIP: Squeeze the spinach very well before chopping it and adding it to the ricotta. Adjust with a little salt and grated nutmeg. Mix everything until creamy smooth and set aside.
  • After the resting time, divide the dough into four parts. Take a piece of dough, and leave the others covered so they do not dry out. Lightly flatten the piece of dough with your hands, pressing it on the floured work surface. Then, turning the handle of the pasta machine, start rolling it, going from the lowest number on the wheel (1) that is the widest roller thickness of the pasta machine, gradually going up one number, until you have a rather thin pasta sheet (5).  Pass the sheet a couple of times through the rollers at each number. Since ravioli are made with two overlapping pasta sheets, it is better to have a thin dough.  
  • When the pasta sheet is at the desired thickness, cut it in half using a knife. One one half add a heaping teaspoon of filling, leaving a space of about 2 fingers in between.
  • Cover with the other half sheet and with your fingers press the dough around the filling to remove as much air as possible.

TIP: Do not let the pasta sheet dries out. It is important to make the ravioli one sheet at a time, as soon as they are rolled out. 

  • Using a corrugated wheel (or a ravioli cutter), cut in between the filling and along the top and bottom to create the ravioli. Reuse the scraps to make more pasta sheets.

TIP: Making ravioli that are more or less the same size is advisable because they will cook at the same time, but do not worry if they are not all exactly the same. 

As soon as you have the finished ravioli, it is important to lay them on a well floured surface so they won’t stick at the bottom.

A wood surface dusted with flour to lay your ravioli works the best. This, in particular, is my mom’s very old “scifa” that has seen a lot of homemade pasta. Let the ravioli dry a little and, if you haven’t made your sauce yet, it’s time to make a simple basil tomato sauce.

Cooking the Ravioli
  • After the sauce is done, it’s time to put some water on boil. Grab a big pot, fill it with plenty of water, add coarse salt and leave it on medium/high heat until it starts to boil.
  • Then, carefully, add ravioli to the boiling water. We manually add them two at a time, paying attention not to splash the hot water from the pot.
  • While the ravioli are cooking, have a big bowl ready close by. Add some sauce at the bottom, then, when the ravioli are done, use a slotted spoon to drain the ravioli from the water right into the bowl. TIP: To know when the ravioli are done, wait till they rise to the surface, then let them cook a little longer (1-2 minutes), turning them gently so they cook evenly on all sides. Since the part that takes longer to cook is the boarder, you could take a piece of the edge and taste it for doneness.
  • Add more sauce on top, stir gently, and grate abundant Parmigiano on top.

     

At this point, your family or guests will be waiting with fork in hand ready to devour your creation. Plate 5 or 6 ravioli delicately in a bowl, adding more sauce and Parmigiano if needed.

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce-plate and fork

  Italian Sunday Lunch Served………

A sigh is heard as we sit down to our nicely placed table. You can see everyone excited to taste this wonderful meal. Wine is poured, and bread is cut on a wood board right at the table and this wonderful ravioli is served.

Time to taste it. I love to watch as people have that first bite. Their lips close, the head goes back a bit and they get this starry eyed look. I think that is pleasure as these ravioli reveal the delicate and lightness of the pasta along with that most luxurious filling of ricotta and spinach. The sauce completes this marriage with its acidic sweetness in accompaniment with the Parmigiano! The last bits of the ravioli are scooping the remnants of sauce and if you are daring, some bread for an amazing scarpetta experience! When compliments are being offered by Italian parents, or even your nonna, you know you have done a great job!

The weekend is coming, why not make it Italian Sunday lunch and feature these Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce. Sit back and watch what happens!

Buona Domenica e Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: A Sunday Kind Of Love – Etta James

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Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Yield: about 30 ravioli 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Method: Homemade
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A classic pasta dish that we typically make for a Sunday lunch. Tender, beautiful, homemade noodles, stuffed with a creamy mixture of ricotta and spinach. Served with a simple basil tomato sauce and topped with grated Parmigiano, these ravioli will transport you to Italy at your first bite.


Ingredients

Ravioli dough

  • 2 large eggs
  • 200 g flour 00
  • a few drops of water if necessary

Ricotta and Spinach Filling

  • 250 g ricotta, drained
  • 100 g boiled and squeezed spinach
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 grated nutmeg

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons e.v.o. oil
  • 1 clove garlic, whole, pressed
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes, puréed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 23 basil leaves
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (for topping)

Instructions

Dough:

  1. On the wood board, pour the flour, make a hole in the center and add the eggs. Beat the eggs with a fork and start incorporating a little flour.
  2. Keep beating the eggs incorporating more of the inner edge of the flour ‘wall’ until the flour starts absorbing the eggs.
  3. Once the eggs are blended in the flour, and you have somewhat of a raggedy dough, start working it. Work the dough with your fingertips, first to release some moisture. Add a few drops of water if necessary.
  4. Then, knead vigorously for a few minutes using your whole hand, folding and turning.
  5. As soon as the dough is smooth, shape it into a ball, cover it with a cloth or a bowl, or wrap it in plastic, and let it rest  for 30 minutes. The gluten will relax and you will have a more elastic dough.
  6. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

Filling:

  1. Wash and boil the spinach until tender. Then, squeeze them very well and chop them fine.
  2. In a bowl add the ricotta and the chopped spinach. Adjust with a little salt, and grated the nutmeg. Mix everything until creamy and smooth and set aside.

Making Ravioli

  1. After the resting time, divide the dough into four parts. Take a piece of dough, and leave the others covered so they do not dry out.
  2. Lightly flatten the piece of dough with your hands, pressing it on the floured work surface. Then, turning the handle of the pasta machine, start rolling it, going from the lowest number on the wheel (1) that is the widest roller thickness of the pasta machine, gradually going up one number, until you have a rather thin pasta sheet (5).  Pass the sheet a couple of times through the rollers at each number. Since ravioli are made with two overlapping pasta sheets, it is better to have a thin dough.
  3. When the pasta sheet is at the desired thickness, cut it in half using a knife. One one half add 1 teaspoon of filling, leaving a space of about 2 fingers in between.
  4. Cover with the other half sheet and with your fingers press the dough around the filling to remove as much air as possible. Do not let the pasta sheet dries out. It is important to make the ravioli one sheet at a time, as soon as they are rolled out.
  5. Using a corrugated wheel (or a ravioli cutter), cut in between the filling and along the top and bottom to create the ravioli. Reuse the scraps to make more pasta sheets.
  6. As soon as you have the finished ravioli, it is important to lay them on a well floured surface so they won’t stick at the bottom.
  7. Let the ravioli dry a little and, if you haven’t made your sauce yet, now it’s the time.

Tomato sauce

  1. In a medium pot over low/medium heat, add the olive oil, the minced onion, the chopped carrot, and garlic clove. Cook until golden, then add the tomato sauce.
  2. Adjust with salt and pepper, and add the basil leaves.
  3. Let cook on low for about 30 minutes or until desired thickness, stirring every now and then. Remove garlic whole.

Cooking Ravioli and Plating:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, place ravioli in delicately. Wait till the ravioli come to the surface, then cook for about 2 minutes longer, about 7-8 minutes total.
  2. Take out of water using a slotted spoon and place in a big bowl with some tomato sauce at the bottom. Add more sauce on top, stir gently, then add abundant grated Parmigiano.
  3. Place 5-6 ravioli onto a plate and dress with some more sauce and Parmigiano.
    Ready to serve!
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22 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Elaine February 24, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Add some ricotta to your noodles, top it up with spinach, and you will have what I like to call the best weekend pasta recipe. Love how delicious your recipe looks!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 26, 2020 at 5:31 am

      This is truly one of the best weekend pasta ever! 🙂 Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply Chef Dennis February 25, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Hmmm yum! I want this Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli in Tomato Sauce on my plate right now! This looks really delicious and mouthwatering!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 26, 2020 at 5:32 am

      Thanks! They are both delicious and mouthwatering. And doable 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply LaKita February 25, 2020 at 8:29 am

    This looks absolutely mouthwatering! I have never tried making homemade ravioli but your steps make the process look simple enough for anyone to make!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 26, 2020 at 5:33 am

      Thank you! Yes, absolutely. Everyone can make ravioli. They won’t look perfect at the beginning -maybe- but they will be surely delicious.

  • Avatar
    Reply Bernice Hill February 25, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Right now, I’m checking out this post instead of making dinner and it is making me so darn hungry. Ricotta and spinach are my favourite ravioli filling and I could eat this comfort food every day!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 26, 2020 at 5:34 am

      Sorry Bernice! Hope you made some supper after! 😉 Ricotta and spinach is my favorite filling too, together with squash. So good!

  • Avatar
    Reply Tammy February 28, 2020 at 11:00 am

    What a perfect combination- spinach and ricotta, is there anything better? This looks so beautiful and delicious. Homemade ravioli is always the best treat ^_^

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 29, 2020 at 12:14 am

      Thank you, Tammy! In Italy, spinach and ricotta is a beloved classic. Agree, homemade ravioli is a treat.

  • Avatar
    Reply Veronika February 28, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    I always wanted to learn how to make homemade pasta! This is a great recipe and I will try to make it next week!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 29, 2020 at 12:16 am

      Thank you, Veronika! I hope you do try to make ravioli from scratch. It is very fulfilling and rewarding 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise February 29, 2020 at 6:53 am

    My stomach is growling just looking at the photos. I can only imagine how delicious this tastes! Spinach and ricotta is my favorite.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 2, 2020 at 1:17 am

      It does taste delicious. Thank you! Spinach and ricotta is a wonderful classic.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kushigalu February 29, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Best pasta recipe to try over weekend. Flavorful and delicious!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 11, 2020 at 1:45 am

      Thank you! They are so flavorful!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer March 1, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Nothing compares to the taste of homemade pasta and ravioli. This looks so warm and inviting. I cannot wait to make this! I can just imagine how incredible it tastes!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 11, 2020 at 1:45 am

      You are right, nothing like homemade pasta and sauce 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Mary Bostow March 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Wonderful post, I love the how to pictures. I’m going to try your recipe!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 5, 2020 at 5:51 am

      Thank you so much Mary. It means a lot that we hear these comments on our way of presenting the posts and recipes. Really enjoy making this it is a real keeper!
      Have a wonderful day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kacey Perez March 5, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Love the step-by-step photos in this post! Home made pasta kind of scares me, but after reading through this it doesn’t seem that hard! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 11, 2020 at 1:47 am

      Making pasta can be scary but it’s doable. They might not turn out amazing the first time -maybe or maybe not- but practice makes perfect 🙂

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