These ravioli with bitter greens are an elegant dish for family and company. Fresh pasta is rolled out and filled with greens, such as escarole or chicory, as well as ericotta and mozzarella. The ravioli is then cooked, and topped with brown butter-walnut sauce. Cheese, lemon juice, and parsley knock it out of the park.
Ravioli with bitter greens not only sounds like a restaurant-quality dish, it tastes like it, too. It’s simply homemade pasta filled with sautéed greens and a couple kinds of cheese and then the whole shebang is gilded with walnut-parsley butter. Its refined elegance comes together with more ease than you’d expect and is certain to impress dinner guests. As an added incentive to make these, you can assemble the ravioli and freeze them so all you have to do when it comes to dinner is slip them in some hot water. You’re welcome.–Angie Zoobkoff
Ravioli with Bitter Greens
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 15 M
- 2 H
- Serves 6 to 8
Special Equipment: Pasta roller; ravioli or large cookie cutter (optional)
- For the pasta dough
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 tablespoon semolina flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 large or extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (15 to 30 ml)
- For the bitter greens filling
- 1 pound bitter greens, such as escarole, chicory, dandelion greens, or radicchio
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 smallish shallots, diced
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cow’s milk ricotta, drained
- 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small dice
- For the finished ravioli and sauce
- Semolina flour, for the work surface
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- 3 sticks salted butter (12 oz)
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
- Make the pasta dough
- 1. Grab your food processor, toss in the all-purpose and semolina flours, salt, and nutmeg, and pulse briefly to mix. Add the eggs and process just until combined. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil and process until the mixture forms curd-like crumbs. When you pinch the dough, it should form a soft ball. If the dough seems too dry, drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. (If you used large eggs rather than extra-large eggs, you’ll probably need to add that remaining 1 tablespoon oil.) If the dough seems too wet and sticky, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process briefly.
- 2. Turn the pasta dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it’s smooth and firm but pliable, 2 to 5 minutes. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Make the bitter greens filling
- 3. While the pasta dough is resting, remove any thick stems from the greens and then cut the leaves crosswise into thin shreds.
- 4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the butter starts to foam, add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- 5. Add a couple handfuls greens to the skillet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until they start to wilt, about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir or toss to combine. Then add more greens and repeat until you’ve added all the greens. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, uncovered, until the greens are quite wilted and soft, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and season lightly with pepper. Let cool briefly and then drain well, firmly pressing on the greens to remove any excess liquid. Transfer the greens to a cutting board and finely chop them.
- 6. In a bowl, combine the greens, ricotta, and mozzarella and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Assemble the ravioli
- 7. Dust a work surface and 2 rimmed baking sheets with semolina flour. Before you roll out the dough, cut it into 4 equal pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. Briefly knead the 4th piece on a lightly floured surface. Set the rollers of a pasta machine to the widest setting and then crank the dough through the rollers. Fold the dough into thirds and pass it through the rollers again. Repeat the folding and rolling 2 or 3 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. (If the sheets get too long and unwieldy, cut them in half crosswise and roll out the halves separately.) Place the dough on a floured work surface and cover it with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of pasta dough.
- 8. Place 1 sheet of pasta dough on your floured work surface with a long edge facing you. Spoon 1 scant tablespoon filling along the center of the dough sheet at 3- to 3 1/2-inch (7.5- to 9-cm) intervals. Using the back of the spoon, flatten each mound slightly. Dip your finger in water and lightly moisten the edges of the dough and the area between the mounds. Carefully place a second sheet of dough on top of the first and gently press down between the mounds to seal the dough and remove any air bubbles. Using a pastry cutter, cut the sheets of dough into large ravioli about 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) square. (Alternately, if you have a ravioli cutter or a large square or round cookie cutter, you can use that to cut the ravioli.) Transfer the ravioli to the prepared baking sheets, making sure the ravioli aren’t touching. Repeat with the remaining pasta dough and filling. You should have 24 to 28 large ravioli.
- 9. If cooking the ravioli right away, place them on the prepared baking sheets. If cooking the ravioli later in the day or at some point in the future, place them on the prepared baking sheets and pop them in the freezer until they’re firm, at least 1 hour. Transfer them to airtight containers and freeze for up to 1 month.
- Make the sauce and serve the ravioli
- 10. Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- 11. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When it begins to foam, swirl the pan and cook, watching carefully, until it begins to brown. It may be necessary to remove the pan from the heat and tilt the pan to swirl the butter to prevent the butter from browning too quickly. Return the pan to low heat and stir in the walnuts and lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon about 1/3 of the walnut butter into a large, shallow serving bowl or platter and place it in the oven. Cover the walnut butter remaining in the pan.
- 12. Add half the ravioli to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to the serving bowl or platter. Spoon a little of the remaining walnut butter from the pan over the ravioli 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 over them and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and cheese. Serve right away.