Ottawa·RECIPE

Make your own Sunday ravioli

Try this recipe for cheese spinach ravioli from a cookbook inspired by Elena Iacono's grandmother.

Ottawa native Elena Iacono shares her nonna's ravioli recipe in new cookbook

Nonna Ma's ravioli. (Submitted by Elena Iacono)

When Elena Iacono's grandmother died in April, the pandemic made it difficult for family and friends to honour her in the usual ways. There was no real funeral and no eulogy.

Elena Iacono created the cookbook to honour her grandmother's memory. (Submitted by Elena Iacono)

Iacono felt compelled to express her love for her 'Nonna Ma,' Maria Dicembre Canci, by creating a cookbook of her favourite recipes. Most of them are regional staples from Vasto, the southern Abruzzo city on Italy's Adriatic coast.  

"While I may never be able to recreate the exact aromas of her sauce, or the perfect way she could whip up fresh ravioli, I feel fortunate to be able to keep her beautiful traditions alive," Iacono wrote in the book, the proceeds from which — more than $14,000 to date — will be donated to Food Banks Canada.

"I missed the taste of my grandmother's ravioli for years. The first time I made this dish shortly after her passing, I was brought back to her loving company in just one bite."

Ravioli con spinaci e formaggio (Spinach and cheese ravioli)

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Half tsp salt

Pasta dough

  • 2 cups type '00' flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  • Whisk eggs in small bowl. Sift flour onto cool, flat surface. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Add eggs, oil and salt to the well. Start combing the flour into the egg mixture slowly.
  • Once the dough begins to form, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, coat with a dab of olive oil and wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes before using a rolling pin to give it a light roll. Run it through a pasta maker. Make four sheets of pasta, about two feet long and four inches wide.
  • Wash and steam spinach. Let cool. In a large bowl combine all filling ingredients.
  • Scoop out some of the cheese mixture and gently place on the fresh dough, about one inch apart from each scoop and about half an inch from the edge of the dough. You'll be folding the dough over, creating a blanket effect.
  • With a ravioli knife, cut each individual piece and pat around the cheese filling to pack everything into place. Use a fork to seal each side of the ravioli. 
  • Cook immediately by dropping into boiling water. The pasta is ready once they start to float. Serve with tomato sauce.

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