My favorite dinners involve at least an hour in the kitchen, two glasses of wine, and a few good albums playing. Last night, I got my favorite evening in the kitchen. With my glass of Muscato in hand, Jason Mraz blaring over the speakers, and my dancing slippers on (classy, I know); I got to work on homemade pasta.
Over a year ago, my father bought me the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid (one of the best Christmas presents ever!) and given all the time in the world I would always choose fresh pasta over boxed. The taste is amazing and the adaptability makes homemade pasta extremely versatile. The ravioli ended up as whole-wheat black pepper ravioli stuffed with spinach/artichoke/ricotta, and topped with a white sauce from Vegetarian Times.
Can life really get any better than music, wine, and a good homemade pasta dish? Well, it might but this is pretty darn close to the top.
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 whole egg
- 1½ tablespoon water
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup spinach, finely chopped
- ¼ cup artichokes, diced
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 ounce light cream cheese
- ¼ cup low-fat plain yogurt
- ¼ cup skim milk
- ½ tablespoon flour
- ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
- pinch salt and pepper to taste
- Mound flour on a wooden cutting board (or other hard surface) and make a well in center. Add egg, salt, pepper, and water to well. With a fork, gently beat eggs and water until combined. Continue by working in enough flour to form a paste.
- Continue to knead (I am usually using my hands by now) in flour until dough forms. Carefully add more water (drop by drop) if dough is too dry. Dough should not be sticky. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Most instructions say to let the dough sit for one hour but I will sometimes jump the gun.
- Using the flat pasta roller, run ¼ of dough through machine 3-4 times on 1, then once on setting 3 or 4 (depending on how thick you like your dough.) Repeat with the rest of dough.
- To make filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Fill a large pot with water, place on high heat and bring to boil.
- Lay pasta out and scoop spoonfuls onto ½ the strips, leaving space between each scoop. Cover with empty strip and use pasta cutter (or pizza cutter), press down edges, seal (I used a fork.)
- To cook pasta, place 4-5 ravioli in boiling water. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until ravioli float to top.
- To make white sauce, place soften cream cheese, yogurt, and milk in a saucepan. Cooking over low heat, whisk to combine and add flour. Continue to cook until mixture is smooth (but not boiling.) Add salt/pepper and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat, drizzle over ravioli, and top with grated Parmesan cheese.