Spinach-Ricotta Ravioli

MAKES: 30 to 60 ravioli

TIME: About 1 hour, with prepared pasta sheets

A standby stuffed pasta; this stuffing is great in cannelloni too (see the variation). Serve it with Fast Tomato Sauce, Traditional Pesto, or the sauce from Fettuccine Alfredo.

1 egg

1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped

11/2 cups ricotta, drained for a few minutes in a strainer

1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic

A small grating of nutmeg

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Salt

1 recipe Fresh Egg or Eggless Pasta, rolled into sheets

Combine the egg, spinach, ricotta, parsley, garlic, nutmeg, and Parmesan in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to a day or use immediately.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cut each pasta sheet into 2 or more 4-inch-wide strips. Drop heaping teaspoons of the stuffing at about 11/2-inch intervals about 1 inch from one long edge of the strip (that is, about 3 inches from the other edge). Fold the dough over onto itself, pressing with your fingers to seal. Trim the dough with a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel, then cut into individual ravioli. (You can prepare the ravioli up to this point in advance; dust with cornmeal and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze.)

Cook the ravioli, 20 or 30 at a time, for just a few minutes, until they rise to the surface. Drain, sauce, and serve immediately.

Variations

Spinach-Cheese Cannelloni. Quicker and baked with sauce (tomato or Alfredo is best): Preheat the oven to 375В°F. Cut the pasta sheets into rectangles (at least 4 Г— 6 inches) and boil them for 2 minutes and drain. Use a tablespoon to dollop out a line of the stuffing along the short edge of a piece of pasta, about an inch or so from the edge; roll the pasta into a tube shape. Spread a small spoonful of sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish and add the cannelloni, putting them side by side and in a single layer; cover with sauce, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Cheese Ravioli. For stronger flavor, use a sharper cheese, like an aged pecorino, to replace some of the Parmesan; the Herbed Fresh Pasta is great here: Substitute bread crumbs for the spinach.

Spinach Ravioli. Or use chard or dandelion greens:

Increase the cooked spinach to 2 cups and add 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, like fennel, sage, chervil, basil, or a mixture. Omit the egg and ricotta.

Mushroom-Cheese Ravioli. Use any kind of mushrooms you like: Substitute 3/4 cup Sauted Mushrooms for the spinach and reduce the ricotta to 11/4 cups. Drain the mushrooms and finely chop.