March 20th is National Ravioli Day! A perfect opportunity to include the kids in the preparation of a beloved Italian classic – after all, food has a way of bringing family together.
Cooking with your kids is a great way to springboard them into a life full of appreciation for food and food culture, let alone an understanding of healthy eating habits. Including them in the process gives them a foundation to learn that the kitchen is a blank canvas. Cooking is a creative outlet that provides sustenance and nutrition.
With our busy schedules, it’s not always easy to catch up at the end of the day. Spending time in the kitchen preparing food and eating together helps keep families connected and around the table after a busy day. Assigning tasks such as setting the table or prepping items to other family members will help set the stage for a successful meal.
There’s no shortage of “kid friendly” recipes out there. Sure, the kitchen might get a little messy, but this is a great opportunity to educate the little ones on the importance of cleanliness when handling food. As my great aunt used to say “if there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean”.
Having been born and raised in Italy, I was introduced to pasta fresca (fresh pasta) at a young age by my grandmother. I can still hear her voice as she walked me through her recipe step by step. Of course, this memory is drenched in nostalgia, but it serves as proof that inviting your children to take part in food preparation will nurture a positive perception of cooking. Some might say the proof is in the pudding. In my case the proof was in the pasta. To this day, when I visit my home in Italy, I stand side by side with my mother, making fresh ravioli and tagliatelle, as we share stories of the past, present and future.
The recipe I am sharing with you is Spinach Ravioli filled with Tre Stelle® Ricotta. In traditional ravioli, spinach is often mixed in with Ricotta before being added as the filling. This time I’ve worked the spinach into the pasta resulting in a colorful spin that is sure to generate interest in the young minds of your sous chefs. Did I mention this is a great way to hide extra veggies in your kids meals?
Let them crack an egg or two, under supervision of course, and ask them to get their hands messy by mixing the ingredients. Once the pasta has been rolled out, offer them a strip to make their own Ravioli. Their imagination will be ignited and their pride will be front and center as they sit across from you at the table, enjoying the fruits, or raviolis, of their labour.
Sharing your love of cooking is extremely rewarding, especially when you’re inspiring the next generation.
Ingredients for 4 p.
1 cup of boiled and well-drained spinach (60 gr. approximately)
50 gr. of durum wheat semolina for dusting
250 gr. of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. of olive oil
1 tub Tre Stelle® Ricotta
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
Tomato sauce for plating.
For the filling:
Strain the Ricotta using a strainer then place the Ricotta in a bowl with a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix and let sit.
For the dough:
Mix flour, semolina, spinach and olive in a bowl, add salt and mix.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead a few minutes, roll it into a ball and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, covered with a kitchen towel.
Cut the dough in 3-4 parts, cover the pieces you are not using to prevent them from drying out.
Dust the counter and dough with a little flour, then press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at widest setting.
Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times.
Continue tightening until the machine is at the second narrowest setting (long thin sheets are the goal here). Avoid too much flour on the dough sheets.
Using a glass or a cutter, made discs of dough (about 8 cm wide).
Place a teaspoon of Ricotta filling on each disc and fold the edge, wrapping the filling.
Press your fingers along the edge, eliminating any air pockets.
Using a pasta cutter to add some flare to each ravioli.
Cook the ravioli for 2-3 minutes in a large pot of salted boiling water with a few drops of oil.
Drain gently with a slotted spoon, plate the ravioli with tomato sauce, drizzle with olive oil and serve.