That's right nudi, without clothing. But how does ravioli get to be naked?
This is very traditional Florentine recipe, more than 600 years old. Ravioli Nudi is kind of like the filling of ravioli without the pasta, which means it's a lot simpler to make.
My variation on the theme is without eggs and parmesan, not so traditional, but still very tasty. Although it takes some time it's a very easy recipe, but I suspect it would take many years of practice to perfect the art.
This is my first entry to one of Sunita's Think Spice, Think... events, hosted by Aparna at My Diverse Kitchen. This weeks spice is nutmeg, which instantly makes me think of Italian food, and ricotta, one of my favourite ingredients. I'll post more about nutmeg here.
Before you start
- I don't believe scales (the bathroom kind or the kitchen kind!) so my measurements are very rough. You'll have to use your intuition and a bit of common sense, but don't worry, I'll talk you through it.
- The ricotta for this recipe should be really dry. If the ricotta is quite moist drain in a cheesecloth or a fine sieve overnight, and then measure out the 2 cups.
- The time consuming bit of this recipe is rolling them out, enlist a helper (kids can do this easily) or allow yourself between half and hour or an hour to roll them.
- Start your water boiling early, it can take a long time. Be ready to serve them as soon as they are cooked, they will start to go hard as they cool.
- The amount of flour depends on the moisture in the ricotta and spinach, you may need a litle more or a little less. Make your dough as wet as you can handle it it.
Around 8 large handfuls of fresh spinach (3 cups cooked and pureed)
2 cups ricotta (roughly 300 grams)
5 cups atta flour
nutmeg to taste
salt to taste (quite a lot to make up for the lack of parmesan, or it will be very bland)
Place your spinach in a big pot and cover with a tight lid. Put on a low heat for a few minutes, stirring every now and then. When it is wilted remove it from the heat. It will lose some water, drain and reserve this liquid.
Put the spinach leaves in a blender and puree (or you can chop it finely by hand). Put into a large mixing bowl with the ricotta and mash it all together. Add nutmeg and healthy dash of salt.
Next add about 4 cups of flour and work it into a dough with your hands. Add half a cup of flour at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. This dough will be sticky, but just dry enough that it holds together, if it is too dry, the ravioli nudi will be hard and dense. If it too wet the ravioli will fall apart when you cook them.
Flour your benchtop and wet your hands. Roll teaspoons of the dough in flour to coat them. You may need to wash your hands a few more times throughout the rolling process as the dough will be very sticky.
Add them one at a time to the boiling water. Once the water comes off the boil don't add any more, wait for that batch to float to the top and stay there (about five minutes) and then remove with a slotted spoon. Then cook the next batch.
Serve hot with olive oil, sage butter, more nutmeg, parmesan or fresh herbs. Don't drown these in sauce, they are good enough to eat alone. These are quite heavy to digest, don't overeat and serve with a side of vegetables.
Vata and Pitta can enjoy this recipe without any problems, but it may be too heavy for Kapha.
But what about the reserved spinach liquid? Save it as stock for soup, dahl or sauce, or just drink it! Don't throw it down the sink, what a waste of nutrients.