Making ravioli from scratch is a bit of a labor of love, but you might be surprised at how much fun it is to play with the pliable pasta sheets and assemble the ravioli—especially if you’re doing it with your sweetie or a friend with a glass of wine in hand. If you’ve had a busy week and still crave this vegetarian ravioli, look for thin fresh pasta sheets at an Italian specialty store or high-end supermarket to save some time. Any combination of greens can star in the ravioli filling. Use a mix of escarole, chicory and dandelion greens, or try radicchio for an unusual yet delicious riff.
Ravioli with Bitter Greens and Toasted Walnut Butter
For the filling:
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 lb. (500 g) bitter greens (see note), cores and thick stems removed, then thinly sliced crosswise
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) well-drained ricotta cheese
- 1/4 lb. (125 g) fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
For the pasta:
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 Tbs. semolina flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil
For the walnut butter:
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) salted butter
- 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated pecorino romano cheese
1. To make the filling, in a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add as many handfuls of greens as you can and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover and cook until the greens start to wilt, about 2 minutes. Uncover, stir and add more greens. Repeat until all are added. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, uncovered, until the greens are soft, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the lemon juice and season with pepper. Let cool briefly, then drain, pressing out the liquid. Transfer to a cutting board and chop finely. In a bowl, combine the greens and cheeses and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. To make the pasta, in a food processor, combine the flours, salt and nutmeg and pulse briefly to mix. Add the eggs and process briefly. Drizzle in 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and process until the mixture forms curd-like crumbs. When you pinch the dough, it should form a soft ball. If it is too wet or sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, and process briefly. If it is too dry, drizzle in the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and firm but pliable, about 10 minutes. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap. Briefly knead the fourth piece on a lightly floured surface. Set the rollers of a pasta machine to the widest setting, then crank the dough through the rollers. Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter for an envelope and pass it through the rollers again, open end first. Repeat folding and rolling two or three times until the dough is smooth. Reset the rollers one width narrower and crank the dough through the setting twice, then adjust the rollers to the next narrowest setting. Continue to pass the dough through the rollers twice on each setting until you have a long, very thin sheet about 1/16 inch (2 mm) thick.
5. Lay the dough sheet on a floured work surface. Spoon tablespoons of filling at 3 1/2-inch (9-cm) intervals on one side of the dough sheet, leaving the other half of the sheet uncovered. Dip your finger in water and lightly moisten the edges of the dough and the area between the mounds. Fold the uncovered half on top and gently press between the mounds to seal. Using a pastry cutter, cut out large ravioli, each about 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) square. Repeat with the remaining 3 dough pieces.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Preheat an oven to 200°F (95°C).
7. Meanwhile, make the walnut butter: In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When it begins to foam, swirl the pan and cook until it begins to brown. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the walnuts and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and cover. Spoon one-third of the walnut butter into a serving bowl and place in the oven.
8. Add half of the ravioli to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a skimmer, transfer them to the serving bowl. Spoon a little of the remaining walnut butter from the pan over them and sprinkle with a little parsley and cheese. Return the bowl to the oven. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli and transfer to the bowl. Spoon the remaining walnut butter on top, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and cheese, and serve. Makes 24 to 28 large ravioli; serves 6 to 8.
Couples will find inspiring ideas for everything from weeknight suppers to Saturday dinner parties in our Newlywed Cookbook.