How to Make Fresh Spinach Pasta & Butternut Squash Ravioli
We have waxed poetic on the rich, eggy flavor and springy, tender texture of fresh pasta in our plain pasta how-to blog — and all of that holds true for spinach pasta too. It’s also green. Really green. We put five ounces of fresh spinach in it, so it has the veggie’s earthy, slightly sweet flavor, and it’s a deep, glorious shade of green that would make Kermit the Frog, M&Ms, the grass on Pelican Hill, and the entire city of Seattle envious.
In this recipe, we’ve turned our spinach pasta into plump butternut squash ravioli. They’re full of oregano, parsley, and fluffy ricotta, so they have a light texture and a sweet, herby flavor. They taste fantastic in a creamy Alfredo sauce. Consider the ravioli a jumping off point: You can make all sorts of noodles and dishes with this dough. We’ve used it to make everything from spinach lasagna to pappardelle coated in olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and Parm. Linguine in a sage brown butter sauce is always a favorite too.
Making homemade pasta is immensely satisfying, very easy, and way more fun with other people. Invite your BFFs over and tell them to bring the wine — and to be ready for an all-hands-on-deck dinner situation in which they’ll be rolling, filling, and cutting the pasta assembly-line style.
For the spinach pasta:
5 oz fresh spinach
2 cups Anna Napoletana Tipo “00” flour, well-packed
2 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the butternut squash ravioli:
1 small butternut squash
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
½ cup whole milk ricotta
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
Gelson’s Alfredo sauce, to taste
Parmesan, shaved, to taste
To make the pasta: In a large, dry sauté pan, cook the spinach over low to medium heat, tossing every few minutes, until it’s wilted, about 12 minutes.
Transfer the spinach to a colander, allow it to cool, and then use your hands to press all of the water out of the spinach until it’s nearly dry. Mince the spinach very fine.
On a clean work surface or in large bowl, mound the flour and make a well in the center to hold the eggs.
Crack 2 of the eggs into the center of the well, and then add the 6 egg yolks, minced spinach, salt, and olive oil, and use your hands to incorporate all of the ingredients into a dough.
Work the dough, kneading it with the palms of your hands until you have a firm dough ball, about 7 to 10 minutes. The dough should start to turn green.
Wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour. You can also make the dough ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Once the dough is rested, divide it into four identical portions with a bench knife. With a rolling pin, flatten one portion and rewrap the remaining portions until you need them. Note: pasta dough left out in the open will dry out, which makes it tough to roll and cut.
Roll the portion into a rectangle measuring roughly 4 x 8 inches and lightly flour.
With the pasta sheeting attachment on a stand mixer or pasta machine set to #1, the widest setting, feed the dough rectangle through on medium speed. Fold the dough in half and feed it through again. Repeat this step a few times to stretch the glutens in the dough and build texture.
Move the sheeter to #2 and repeat step 9. Continue this process until you have reached #6 on the pasta sheeter.
Lay the pasta sheet on a flat, lightly floured surface, and cover it with plastic wrap or a tea cloth. Then move on to the next dough portion, repeating steps 8 – 10. Set the pasta aside until you’re ready to make your ravioli.
To make the ravioli filling: Preheat the oven to 400º.
Halve and seed the butternut squash, coat the cut side with olive oil, and season it with salt and pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on a sheet pan and roast it for 30 minutes, or until a knife slides through the squash easily. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the roasted butternut squash with the ricotta, panko bread crumbs, oregano, parsley, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set the mixture aside.
To make the ravioli: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and season generously with salt (it should taste like seawater).
In a small bowl, whisk the one remaining egg to make an egg wash.
On a lightly floured work surface, lay out 2 of the pasta sheets. Place 1-oz dollops of filling (about 1 heaping tablespoon) on the sheets, leaving a 1 ½-inch border between each dollop of the filling. Continue until the sheets are full.
Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash around each dollop of filling on one of the sheets, and then lay another sheet of pasta over the top, pressing around the filling to form pockets. Make sure all of the seams are sealed. Repeat with the second sheet of filling.
Using a ravioli stamp or cutting wheel, cut out the ravioli and discard any remaining pasta dough. Transfer the ravioli to a lightly floured sheet tray.
In a small saucepan, warm the Alfredo sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Cook the ravioli in the pot of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they float to the top of the pot. Note: if you want to cook the ravioli at a later time, you can cover the sheet tray of ravioli with plastic wrap and slide it into the freezer for up to 2 months.
Transfer the ravioli to a serving bowl, toss with the Alfredo sauce, top with the Parm shavings, and serve.