Chicken and Spinach Ravioli

I have to say that one of my favorite purchases in the last 6 months is the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment, which fits perfectly into any KitchenAid mixer (I have used it on my mom’s 30 year-old KA, my 10 year old KA, and my Grandmother’s brand new KA). Today on Food Network, I watched Anne Burrell make a broccoli rabe and ricotta ravioli, and I became inspired to attempt homemade ravioli. I was hesitant about using broccoli rabe, so I decided to wing it and attempt a ravioli with a chicken, spinach, ricotta and parmesan filling.

I was fairly pleased with the results, but still need to play around with the sauce a little to give it an extra wow factor. The filling and sauce are both light and the lovely texture of the homemade pasta makes this recipe a wonderful dish, whether served as an appetizer or a full meal. Serve with your favorite wine and lots of yummy garlic bread!

Chicken and Spinach Ravioli (serves 3-4 people as a main course, and 6-8 as an appetizer)

½ pound of homemade pasta (recipe to be posted in the near future)
8 oz chicken breast, chopped into ½” cubes
½ medium onion, small dice
8 oz frozen spinach (thawed)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to garnish

Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter
½ cup chicken stock (preferably homemade, but if not, use the low-sodium variety from your grocery store)
4 Tbsp parmesan

1. In a sauté pan over medium /medium-low heat, sweat the onion in a small amount of butter. When the onions are translucent, add the chicken and cook until done.

Let the mixture cool, then either chop it finely by hand or in a food processor. (I usually chop mine by hand instead of the Cuisinart in order to avoid over-chopping, which can cause the mixture to become too mushy.)

2. In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, and a pinch of salt.

3. Place thawed spinach in a kitchen towel and twist vigorously to get rid of as much water as possible.

4. Combine the chicken/onion mixture, ricotta mixture, and spinach to make the pasta filling. Taste the filling and add salt/pepper as needed.

5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry piping bag or a Ziploc bag and push the mixture down into the bottom of the bag. If you use a Ziploc bag, cut one corner off to pipe the mixture into your pasta. Set the filling mixture aside while you roll your pasta.

6. Take half of your pasta dough and form it into a rectangle, and begin rolling to make the sheets of pasta for the ravioli. If you have a KitchenAid pasta roller, begin on setting 1. You may need to roll the pasta through setting 1 a few times to achieve the desired consistency and width. If your pasta is not wide enough, fold it in half length-wise and roll it through the same setting again.

7. Continue this same process (rolling through the KitchenAid and doubling the pasta over if necessary) through settings 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

8. Cut your #6 setting-width sheet of pasta into 2 sheets that fit comfortably on your work station.

9. Lightly brush the pasta with water (which will act as the glue). Be sure not to use too much water or the dough will stick to your cutting board.

10. Pipe a small dot of filling (I use about 1 Tbsp. of filling per ravioli) onto the top half of the pasta sheets, ensuring that you leave enough space to seal and cut the individual ravioli.

11. Fold the bottom half of the pasta sheet up over the filling, and use your fingers to press the dough together, sealing in the filling. Be sure to get rid of any air bubbles so that the ravioli will cook properly.

12. Using a ravioli wheel, knife, or biscuit cutter, cut your pasta into the desired shape (I used a 2.5” biscuit cutter). Crimp the edges of the pasta together with a fork to completely seal in the filling.

13. Using the 2nd half of the pasta dough, repeat steps 6-12 until all of your ravioli has been made.

14. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously-salted water up to boil.

15. Place the first batch of ravioli into the boiling water, being sure not to overcrowd the pot (this causes the water temperature to drop too rapidly and the pasta does not cook correctly). Cook the ravioli for about 2 minutes. When the ravioli is ready to come out it will float to the top of the pot.

16. Carefully strain the ravioli and have it ready to add to the sauce as soon as possible. If the pasta is left too long in a colander, it will stick together and tear the ravioli apart.

** The sauce should also be made in two batches (1 for each batch of ravioli you cook). **

16. While the ravioli is cooking, melt 2 Tbsp of butter into a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add ¼ cup of chicken stock and reduce slightly. Add 2 Tbsp parmesan and swirl to incorporate. The sauce should be light brown and fairly thin in consistency.

17. Add the hot ravioli to the pan, and swirl the pan, cooking for about 1 minute, or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. Add more parmesan, if desired, swirling the entire time to be sure it is fully incorporated.

18. Pour the ravioli and sauce onto a plate, and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Clean the sauté pan (the cheese tends to stick to the bottom), then Repeat steps 16 and 17 as necessary for each remaining batch of ravioli.

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