Ever since I got a pasta machine several months ago, I've been playing around with different recipes almost every week. I have to say, although making your own pasta is extra work, like all things homemade, it's completely worth it. Today I decided to finally try my ravioli press and make some homemade ricotta ravioli with sausage, mushroom, and spinach sauce. If you're going to make the fresh dough, why not the ricotta as well?
Ricotta Ravioli with Sausage Mushroom and Spinach Sauce
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups ricotta
- 1 large egg
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- ¾ cup parmesan grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces sausage casings removed, crumbled
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 10 oz spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ⅓ cup parmesan grated
- Prepare ricotta. Combine milk, heavy cream and salt in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, add vinegar and simmer for about 2 minutes or until mixture curdles. Pour mixture into a lined sieve with cheesecloth and Let drain overnight.
- Prepare the dough. Pour the flour onto a clean work surface, creating a well in the center. Crack the eggs and pour into the well. Using a fork, carefully whisk the eggs, slowly dragging in the flour into the well. Continue to whisk until the flour and eggs are incorporated. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine ricotta with egg, nutmeg, parmesan, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a pasta machine, roll out the dough until it is ⅛ inch thick. Start by rolling out the dough at the thickest setting 6-8 times. Move the machine up one notch and repeat. Repeat once more at the 3rd setting. At the fourth setting, roll the dough 1-2 times. Continue to move up the settings until you have the desired thickness.
- Heavily flour the ravioli press. Lay one sheet of dough on top, making sure to cover the entire mold. Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each ravioli. Lay another layer of dough on top. Roll a rolling pin over the mold to seal the edges. Flip the mold over and gently tap on the counter to remove the ravioli from the press. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the ravioli into individual pieces. Lay the ravioli on a baking sheet coated with flour. Cover and repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- While the water comes to a boil, prepare the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the crumbled sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the mushrooms, making sure not overcrowd the pan. Saute until caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red wine. Bring the wine to a boil and reduce until almost all evaporated. Add the chicken stock and reduce by ¼. Add the sausage and spinach to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Boil the ravioli for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the top.
- Remove ravioli from the water with a slotted spoon into the sauce. Add the butter and toss to coat. Finish with parmesan. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
This was my first time actually making ricotta so I had to do a little research before attempting it. Technically, this is the way to make cottage cheese and not ricotta, but it still tastes amazing.
When making the ricotta, it's imperative that you have a cheesecloth. Once the milk and cream boil, turn off the heat and add the vinegar. You want to use good quality vinegar since you will be able to taste it in the ricotta. Let it sit and curdle, then strain into the cheesecloth-lined sieve. The first time I made the cheese, I realized I forgot to buy the cheesecloth and proceeded without it. Big mistake. The sieve itself is not fine enough to separate the whey from the ricotta so you end up losing a lot of the cheese. The cheesecloth is, however, fine enough so you can successfully separate the cheese from the whey. I let my ricotta drain overnight to get it on the thicker side.
Season the ricotta with an egg, parmesan, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg for the filling. Set it aside while you work on the pasta dough.
The traditional way of preparing pasta dough is to mound the flour on a clean work surface, creating a well in the center. Carefully crack the eggs into the center of the well. Using a fork, whisk the eggs and slowly start pulling the flour into the eggs. Continue to whisk the eggs and flour, until the dough starts to form and the flour is incorporated with the eggs. Using your hands, knead the dough until it is smooth, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook or even a food processor.
Allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes to let the gluten rest. This will make it easier to roll out later.
Whenever I roll out pasta, I start by running it through the machine at the thickest setting 6-8 times. I move up the setting one notch and run it through another 5-6 times. I continue to do this until I reach the 3rd notch. When I am finally at the thinner settings, I roll out the dough only once. Why go through this long process? Rolling it out several times at the thickest setting allows the gluten to develop since you are essentially rolling out the dough. This will help make it easier once you reach the thinnest setting, preventing the dough from becoming brittle.
Roll out the dough until it is about ⅛ inch thick. Now it's time to bring out the ravioli press! Lay the first dough sheet on the press, place the filling in the center, and cover with the second layer. Using a rolling pin, gently press down on the ravioli. If you press too hard, the dough will get stuck to the press and make it difficult to take out. Tap the ravioli press on the counter and the ravioli should pop right out.
Remember to put a liberal amount of flour on the ricotta ravioli to prevent them from sticking. At this point, you can freeze the ravioli or cook immediately.
Like with all pasta, heavily salt the water before cooking the ravioli. In about 2-3 minutes, the ravioli will start to float to the top - an indication that they are ready. Drain, toss in the prepared sauce and get to devour this dish!
It took me a little while to finally decide what to pair with the ricotta ravioli. My final decision of sausage, mushroom and spinach sauce was a perfect choice. The creamy ricotta ravioli paired well with the salty sausage, bitter greens, and hearty mushrooms. This is the best pasta dish that I have created with my machine thus far. Homemade ricotta ravioli for the win!
For more pasta inspiration check out my butternut squash ravioli with parmesan broth.