This recipe has been passed down in the Colaianni family for many generations. My father still makes it every Easter and last year he taught my daughter Isabella and myself how to prepare this family delicacy. Although it can be time consuming, the reward of eating the ravioli is worth the effort.
You Will Need:
5 Cups of flour
1 Cup of water
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/4 Tablespoon Salt
1 Pound of ground veal
1 Package of Chopped Spinach
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
8 oz. Package of Cream Cheese
1-2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
2 Large cans of Tomato Puree
1 Small can of tomato paste
Minced garlic to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Small white onion chopped fine
Fresh basil to taste
Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
How You Do It:
First prepare the sauce. Lightly brown the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the tomato products and seasonings. Simmer on low heat for a few hours, remembering to stir. Add the fresh basil at the end of the cooking time.
The second step is to brown the ground veal. Then add the chopped garlic, spinach and onions and cook until softened. After the filling has cooled, put in a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and lightly pulse a few times.
The dough is next. Place flour on pastry board - add eggs, salt, and just enough of the water to moisten the mixture. Knead until stiff. There are two ways to proceed from here: Either hand roll the dough or use a pasta machine. In either case, the trick is for the dough to be thick enough to hold the filling, but thin enough not to mask the flavor of the filling. Divide the dough into eight equal parts and start with one section at a time leaving the remaining dough covered in the bowl. The use of the machine requires the dough to be run through five-to-six times - going from the widest setting on the machine to the smallest setting.
Lay the rolled-out dough on a floured surface, fold it lengthwise in half to mark the center, and then unfold it. Mark the dough lightly with ravioli cutter, but do not cut through - this helps you eye how many shapes will fit on each strip. Place a teaspoon of filling on one-half of each shape, brush dough lightly with cool water, then fold the other half over. Next, use the ravioli cutter to press it into shape. Crimp the edges together and let dry, covered with a towel, for a few hours. If freezing the ravioli poke each one’s center with a fork and layer them in rows on freezer paper, then put them in freezer bags.
When it comes time to cook the raviolis, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then drop in a few at a time and cook for 3-5 minutes. Repeat until all ravioli are cooked. In a large baking pan place a layer of sauce, then ravioli, and then repeat until pan is full. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and additional Parmesan cheese and bake for 1 hour in a 325 degree oven.