I got another culinary hair up my ass last week. For those of you who read Empanadas: A Confession, I am glad to report that I truly did make these for myself, to celebrate the last of my very sad looking chard. Those plants gave out for at least 4 months. The base of one of the plants was a full 4 inches across. Amazing.
Scroll down as far as you like, there are no photos of the actual ravioli in this post. I gave you the only good looking photo already. Homemade ravioli look like hell (but taste like heaven). I know, how am I supposed to convince you to make them if I don’t get the drool flowing with some food porn? Go visit Slow Living Essentials for some pretty pix, as well as good instructions for forming the raviolis. Although I notice that even Christine didn’t post photos of the cooked pastas, which wrinkle up in a most obscene way.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of rolling out, filling and cutting ravioli, (and really, I’m telling’ ya, I’m a freak, this is not normal mother-of-two-littles behavior) you could make a damn fine lasagna with the same ingredients and a lot less work. Ain’t nothin’ second rate about lasagna!
(The 3yo, who loved these, called them wrap-a-rollies. And who can argue with that?)
Swiss Chard Wrap-a-Rollies
serves 4 adults and associated kids if there’s other food on the table, might I recommend a roast chicken?
for the pasta dough combine:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- enough water to make a stiff dough
Knead until smooth and let rest, covered at least 30 minutes.
Erstwhile, remove the ribs from a big bunch of chard (use for these scrummy muffins) and chop very fine. Fry in some butter and a sprinkle of water, with a lid on, until tender. Smash 2 cloves of garlic and stir into the greens just as you turn off the heat. Let sit for a minute in the hot pan, then move into a mixing bowl and add about a cup of cottage cheese or whole milk ricotta (cottage cheese is cheaper and really just as good), a cup or more of shredded mozzarella, some finely grated parmesan, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and a whisper of nutmeg. Oh, and an egg. Beat it all together and set it in the fridge to cool while you roll out the pasta.
Working with one quarter of the dough at a time, roll out thin, fill, seal and set onto a lightly floured baking sheet. You can make much bigger ravioli than the traditional bite-size, it goes faster. Just make sure to use enough pasta, ie: don’t overstuff or you will live to regret it.
Leave out to dry slightly (an hour or so) before cooking in rapidly boiling, salted water. Cook this size recipe in two batches. They cook very fast, once they bob back up to the surface give them another 30 seconds, then fish them out, drain and boil the second batch.
Toss gently with a very simple tomato sauce. Mine was just good garden tomatoes cooked down with a little salt added.
If you want to make a lasagna instead, I recommend ‘no-boil’ lasagna sheets. It took me years to come around, but they really do make lasagna a weeknight meal. Make sure to spread the filling just on the sheets themselves, not around the edges, because as they cook, they expand outward carrying the filling with them. I think it would be really good to alternate layers, instead of putting some filling and some sauce on every layer. As in, tomato sauce first, then pasta, then cheese/chard, then pasta, then sauce, then pasta, etc. I think this would make it more ravioli-ey. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15.
I don’t know why spinach lasagna always has to have a white sauce. Are we so afraid of vegetables that we have to drown them completely in animal fat? I mean, with all that cheese, can’t we go red with the sauce?