Ravioli Florentine

This ravioli Florentine is a dish re-imagined, but one that I think keeps its original form intact. The first way I saw this prepared was as a cheap, Italian-American style restaurant dinner with store bought ravioli, heavy cream, cheese, and spinach. It is what in America we would swiftly identify as a ravioli alfredo. American alfredo is all cream and no technique !!! GOD JUST SOFTBALLIN' EM UP HERE !!! Once in a while I crave a heavy cream sauce or a casserole style pasta dish, but not often. Italian alfredo, to my understanding, is a lot of butter, pasta water, and cheese. If you're not already doing it, the pasta water technique is a great way to work a sauce. Basically take a ladle or 2 of pasta water, add it to a hot pan and slowly work in butter and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. The starchy pasta water, coupled with the butter and cheese, makes for an alfredo-like sauce. Creamy, yet no cream. Here, I took the concept of a ravoli Florentine - ravioli, alfredo, + spinach - and made it like a classic Italian alfredo. I tried to class up a lazy dish from my youth, so to speak.

For Ravioli
3 1/2 cups AP flour
5 large eggs or 6 regular store bought
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Fresh Ricotta
4 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pinch salt
1 lemon

For Sauce
1/2 cup pasta water
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
Garlic optional

To Make Ricotta
It is best to look at an online tutorial on how to make ricotta, but the process is adding cream and milk to a pot which you bring to a slow rolling boil. Once boiling, squeeze a lemon and stir. Take off the heat for about 3-5 minutes. It should have curdled. Once curdled, drain onto a cheese cloth in a fine mesh sieve. Let the ricotta sit in a bowl to cool. I added a little Romano and basil to mine for filling.

To Make Ravioli + Sauce
Make a well like you would any pasta dough and knead until smooth. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Plenty of musings and instructions on pasta doughs here. Flatten with a pasta machine or use a rolling pin. From there, space out little pockets of ricotta cheese and brush some egg wash on the top half of your dough - pictured above. Fold over once and use your index finger to cover the gaps in-between each ravioli square. Buy a pasta crimper to make those little ravioli ridges on each side that we have all grown accustomed to.

Fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook, so monitor closely. Use the pasta water method above - I would say 1/4 cup of pasta water to 1/4 pound of butter and 1/2 cup of Romano cheese to achieve a creamy and smooth Italian alfredo sauce. Add the ravioli then spinach goes in at the end - at the end always with spinach. Give it a few quick tosses so that the spinach is wilted but not cooked. Salt and pepper. That's it, baby.