RECIPE: CRISPY GERMAN RAVIOLI WITH CREAMED SPINACH

Crispy German Ravioli with Creamed Spinach
(Gebratene Maultaschen auf Blattspinat)

1 recipe fresh pasta dough using 2 c. flour and, 2 eggs and a little water as needed
1/4 lb. Speck (German smoked prosciutto), chopped finely in a food processor
1 lb. chopped Veal
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 t. dried tarragon
2 T. panko bread crumbs soaked in 1 T. milk
1 egg
butter
sour cream
s&p

With your pasta machine, roll the pasta into long strips. These hearty raviolis are easier to handle if you stop at the next-to-thinnest setting.  Using the dough rolled to the thinnest possible setting gives a more elastic dough, however since you're going to boil these first, then cook in butter, they hold up better with a thicker skin.

Make the ravioli filling: cook the chopped onion in 1 T. butter for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Use medium heat and stir so the onion doesn't brown.  Let the onion cool a bit, then in a large bowl mix the speck, veal, onions, soaked bread crumbs, tarragon, salt and pepper, and 1 egg that you've whisked first. Make sure to mix everything together well.

Lay out your first sheet of pasta dough, the strips will be about 4-5 wide for the most part.  Use a fluted roller cutter to trim the top edge into a straight line (trim off as little of the edge as possible) and also trim the short ends to square off those edges. The pasta sheets will taper off into ovals, so you want to get as long a rectangle as you can. The bottom edge of the dough can stay the natural shape, don't trim that edge.

But balls of 1 T. filling on the center of the dough, about 1" – 1/2" inch apart. After the first batch you'll have a better idea of how closely you can space the filling balls and still make firm seals when you cut them.

Take the bottom edge of the dough and fold up over the filling balls. Then take the top fluted edge and fold that down over the filling, so that the top edge overlaps the bottom, sealing the filling. Next, with your finger press down the dough between each ball so the dough sticks together. Use the fluted cutter to cut into individual raviolis. Pinch the cut ends to firmly seal those edges, and then push down the top folded over edge onto the bottom, to seal that overlap edge.

You'll end up with neat raviolis with fluted edges on either side, then a fluted flap across the middle, like an envelope.

Put them on a lightly floured tray and let dry for an hour or so. This will stiffen the pasta and help them hold their shape. THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO MAKE THE CREAMED SPINACH (see below).  

Get a big pot of water boiling, and slip the raviolis in, bring back up to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Gently stir so they don't stick together. Tip out into a sieve to drain, and then lay them out on a dish towel to let dry. You can speed this up by blotting them with a dish towel on the top, but sitting out in the air will dry them off in 30 minutes or so.

In a large skillet melt a nice amount of butter (2-3 T.) and when it stops bubbling place the raviolis in the pan, face down, and cook for 4-5 minutes 'til well browned. Carefully flip over onto the bottoms, the flat side, and cool that side until it's well browned too. The raviolis will be nice and stiff and crunchy chewy.

Reheat the creamed spinach and spread out a nice circle on individual plates or on a platter. Lay out the crisped raviolis and dot each one with 1 t. sour cream. Give a nice grind of grind of pepper over all and serve immediately, while nice and hot.

CREAMED SPINACH:

2 T.  browned flour (brown the flour in a pan first to give a deeper flavor. Note that browning the flour reduces its thickening power, so you need to use twice as much as you regularly would, hence the 2 T. If you don't brown your flour, use only 1 T. of regular)
1 lb. fresh spinach, well washed
1 clove garlic
2 T. butter
2 T. finely chopped onion
1/2 c. heavy cream
s&p
pinch of nutmeg
a bit of zested lemon (just a touch, a couple scrape with a microplane grater)

Brown the flour: in a small pan over medium-high heat stir the flour constantly until it turns the color of dark sand, about 10 minutes. Don't cook all the well to nut brown. Turn out into a prep dish so to make sure it doesn't burn in the pan.  

Drop the cleaned spinach into a pot of boiling water. Cook until just the leaves have just surrendered – it'll only take a minute or less. Drain the spinach  and run cold water over it to stop cooking. Drain well, then put the spinach in a clean dishcloth and twist it into a ball and wring out all the excess water. Take out of the dish cloth.  You'll have a big firm lump of spinach which makes the next step easier: roughly chop it all.

Smash the garlic clove and rub it all around the insides of a heavy pot, smear it really well then toss away the clove. Add the butter and onions and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent. If some of it browns that's okay. Sprinkle in the browned flour, stir well to mix the onions and butter and cook it for a couple of minutes, to cook off the raw flour taste. Add the cream, bring to a simmer, stirring, until you have a really thick base.  Add cream, cook and stir and it thicken.

Add the chopped spinach, stir to mix it all well and get really it hot. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon zest.

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Written by on May 9, 2011 under ALL RECIPES.



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