Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli

I wanted something really good this weekend and since I had the time on Sunday, I decided to make one of my favorite recipes from Giada's Everyday Italian. I've made this dish a couple of times and everyone loves it. An easy dish that takes a bit time but definitely worth the effort. If you love mushrooms like I do, this is definitely one you'll have to try. It also uses store bought egg roll wraps so I don't have to make pasta dough. Of course if you prefer to make your own pasta dough for the ravioli wraps, you can certainly do that.

The first time I made it, I also made the Individual Strawberry Trifles and what a wonderful compliment this dessert was to the raviolis. I was a bit hestitant with the strawberries and aged balsamic vineger combo but put it all together and it was heavenly. I've got to make it again when strawberries are in season.

Note that you will need a food processor for the sauce and for the filling. You can also use a blender for the sauce. If you don't have a food processor, you might want to chop the mushrooms very finely and chop the spinach up a bit more too. You're trying to achieve a coarse filling rather than a chunky filling. You can also make the sauce the day before.

Here's the recipe with my modifications noted.


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons for boiling water
  • 6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone (I use ricotta cheese)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
  • 6 egg roll wrappers (6 1/2 by 6 1/2-inch squares)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water (1 was enough for me)
  • 1/2 cup mushroom (cremini, shiitake, button), finely chopped (I used portebello, Italian Brown, and button mushrooms)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large saute pan heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When almost
smoking, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt here since the Parmesan cheese has salt in it and you'll be checking for seasoning again).

Cook until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse texture. Place in bowl and stir in mascarpone and Parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning and set aside.

Line up 3 wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg and water mixture. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 dollops of the filling on each wrapper – 2 on the first row and 2 on the second – 1-inch apart. Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges. Using a fluted ravioli cutter, cut out squares of ravioli. Each filled wrapper will yield 4 raviolis, giving you a total of 12 ravioli. Place ravioli onto a floured baking sheet and keep covered with a linen towel.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water. (I didn't put any oil in the boiling water but make sure you stir often to keep the raviolis from sticking.) Carefully add small batches of ravioli, about 3 to 4 at a time. This will prevent them from crowding in the pot and sticking together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove the ravioli and place on the plate. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue cooking remaining ravioli. In a saute pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add chopped mushrooms and saute until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

Divide ravioli between 2 serving plates. Top with mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Simple Tomato Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors. (I usually use about 1 1/2 tablespoons to get my sauce where I like it. I do like my sauce slightly on the acidic side.)

Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

Yield: 6 cups

Here is a picture of half the raviolis plated. I like to put a layer of the sauce on the bottom so that they don't stick to the bottom of the plate.

I then top the raviolis with some more dollop of the sauce and sprinkled with some grated Parmesan cheese. This night, I went
with pregrated.

And there you have it. I ended making 8 raviolis per person, which is plenty to get you full.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

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