Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli
At first glance a homemade ravioli dinner does NOT seem like a quick and easy dinner!
And in all reality, it typically isn’t. Cooking pasta from scratch is a pain. It can be a very rewarding pain, but also one that when one boy is yelling for pureed pumpkin, and the other is yelling for the remote to watch football, I just don’t have time for!
Enter Gyoza Wrappers. These unassuming little rounds are typically found by the egg roll wrappers and tofu in the refrigerated section. I’ve used them for years to make Asian pot-stickers, and had never even considered the possibility that they could be a culture-crossing culinary convention!!
The first time I used them to make ravioli however they were a hit! They have all the traits that you look for in a good pasta – sturdy, mild flavor, slight chew, with none of the falling-apart-and-making-a-mess-everywhere issues that I normally run into with homemade ravioli pasta.
Speaking of falling apart everywhere: it is very important that you cook as much of the liquid out of the spinach as possible. If you just don’t feel like it’s working you can always take the spinach off the heat (before adding the ricotta) and stick it in some cheesecloth and squeeze. I have done this a few times, but it slows everything down, as you have to wait for the spinach to cool before you can squeeze it very effectively!!
If you don’t get the water out, your raviolis will explode and fall apart when you drop them in the boiling water. Also on that note – you want your water simmering, not boiling. I do normally recommend a rolling boil, especially to cook fresh pasta, but with these little guys a rolling boil is just a bit much as it can agitate them and they may separate. DO make sure that you keep the water simmering though!
One last thing. I recommend a teaspoon of filling in my recipe below. Depending on your hunger level, filling consistency and ravioli skills you can do more or less! I just threw a teaspoon out there as a general guideline! (let’s be honest…I just use my fingers!)
The recipe that I use for my fresh tomato sauce can be found HERE – but in a pinch, you can buy it too!
- 1 quart Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 1 large shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3-4 large handfuls of spinach
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- Gyoza wrappers
Assemble the tomato sauce and keep warm (but not boiling) on a back burner while you prepare the ravioli.
Fill a 3 quart saucepan with two quarts of water and pour in a heaping tbsp (hehe) of kosher salt. Bring it to a boil.
While you are waiting for the water to boil, saute the onions and garlic in a large skillet until lightly browned. Add the spices and salt and stir to combine.
Add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan and scrape up all the browned bits. While the water is still boiling add the spinach to your pan (it will be overflowing!) cover with a large lid (or aluminum foil if you don't have a lid) and let the water reduce. The steam from the water will cook the spinach and shrink it's volume exponentially.
Once the spinach is cooked down stir everything together. If there is still some liquid in the pan let it cook a bit longer, uncovered. Make sure to stir frequently at this point so the spinach does not stick.
Once almost all of the liquid is reduced take off the heat and add the ricotta, stirring well. Check the temp. If it's still hot, wait a bit to add the egg. Once you can comfortably stick your finger in the filling, you can safely add the egg. Stir it in until well combined.
Arrange 12 Gyoza wrappers on a lightly floured large sheet pan. Cover with a damp towel, only exposing the ones that you are working on so that they do not dry out. Put a teaspoon of filling in each wrapper. With a damp finger blot a bit of water around the edges of the wrappers and place a second wrapper on top, pressing down firmly around the pocket of filling to seal and expel any air.
As you make the wrappers you can allow them to stay uncovered and dry out a bit. Once you have your desired amount of raviolis, start dropping them in the boiling water, one at a time (so they don't stick together). Scoop out with a slotted spoon when they rise to the top of the water and arrange on a plate, cover with the warm tomato sauce!