Growing up, we were allowed to pick whatever we wanted for our birthday dinner. (A tradition I extend to my children today.) Every single year I picked the same thing: ravioli soup. These are nothing like the raviolis you're probably used to. They are small and instead of serving them in sauce, they are boiled in broth to make soup. It's delicious and made all the more special because we only had it once a year. Making raviolis is definitely a labor of love (made significantly easier with a KitchenAid ravioli maker attachment I might add).
This year I've scored big because my mother taught my daughter how to make them and they are making me ravioli soup for my birthday dinner. Another example of how wonderful traditions can be, carried on from one generation to the next, centered around the dinner table.
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 4 eggs
- 1 TB salt
Place flour and salt in bowl, make a well in the center and drop the eggs in. Add 4-5 tablespoons of water a little at a time and blend together. Once the dough starts to come together, use your hands to knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes). Place in an oiled bowl and cover with clean towel or plate. Let rest for three hours at room temperature.
- 10 oz frozen spinach thawed and drained completely or fresh spinach cooked just to wilted
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef (or a mixture of beef, sausage and veal)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 3 eggs
- Pinch of ground nutmeg and black pepper
- Dash of salt
Finely chop spinach and place in a large bowl. Mix well with all other ingredients.
This is the part where you use your pasta roller and ravioli attachment if you have one, if not follow the instructions to do it by hand. It's a great arm workout.
- Separate the dough into four parts and repeat the steps for each ball of dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is very thin, as thin as you can make it. Lay it out on the counter.
- On the bottom half of the dough, place small mounds (a teaspoon) of the filling approx 1 1/2 inches apart and the same distance from the sides of the dough.
- Fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half, completely covering the filling. Press firmly between the mounds of stuffing with the side of your hand - you want to seal the dough together so really press firmly.
- Using a pastry wheel cutter, cut along all of the rows to create separate raviolis. Set aside to dry for at least 10 minutes and then store in an airtight container until ready to use. You can also freeze them at this stage and use them within three months.
Bring your favorite chicken broth recipe to a boil. Drop the raviolis in gently and cook for 12 minutes. Note, I make the broth in my crock pot all day. Then 30 minutes before dinner put the temp on high and drop the raviolis in to cook for that half hour. You can cook them directly from frozen. I highly recommend a sprinkle of Parmesan on top of the soup when serving.