Newsflash: We are preparing for Winter Storm #256, and I’m sick of the snow.

I read a lot of blogs. I love them. I have made new blogger friends all over the country just through my little site here.

So, in the evening I was browsing through my blogger friends’ posts, and checked out Leah’s Thoughts where she had recent pictures of her daughter enjoying the sunny San Diego weather in her bathing suit!!

After seeing that, I need you to remind me again…

Why the heck do I live in Ohio?

In my humble opinion, there is ONE (count them… one) good thing about cold weather and snow storms.

Snow makes cooking comfort food more fun. There is something about a big steaming bowl of soup, or a tender pot roast, or a big bowl of pasta that warms you from the inside while you watch the snow fall… it somehow makes the snow delightful again.

So, for this snow storm, I give you the recipe for homemade ravioli.

Ravioli is a great, great dish. Want to know why? Because once you know the basics of how to make ravioli, you can stuff those guys with any little thing you want.

This time around I made a wild mushroom ravioli; however, if mushrooms aren’t your thing, you can use spinach, ground beef or sausage, just cheese, or any combo of vegetables.

Or, in the words of the imprisoned T.I (did you happen to see the story where he got in trouble for getting a little “frisky” with his wife while she was visiting him jail? yikes!), “you can have whatever you like”.

Keep in mind, this recipe is not a quick fix, make-it-in-5-minutes-after-work type of meal. It is designed for a snow day or a lazy Sunday.

Let us begin with the filling. Keep in mind… this is just a suggestion. You could really throw just about anything you like in these buddies. This version is adapted from a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe.

Here is what you’ll need for mushroom ravioli:

Olive Oil

10 oz. Frozen Spinach

Onion, chopped

Garlic, finely diced

Button Mushrooms

Shitake Mushrooms

Crimini Mushrooms

Mascarpone Cheese (1/3 c.)

Parmigiano Reggiano (1/3 c. shredded)

Start by defrosting your spinach in the microwave.

While that is melting away, put about a tablespoon of olive oil into a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Add in your onions- I used one whole white onion, chopped.

Let those soften for 2-3 minutes. We are not looking to brown the onions, so if they start to caramelize just turn down your heat a bit.

Add in your garlic. 2-3 large cloves ought to do ya right.

Now, finely chop (either with a knife or a food processor) your button mushrooms. It should be about a cup of mushroom.

Throw that into your pan.

Then, move on to your shitakes.

I love shitake mushrooms.

The are the shit-ake.

Chop up a cup of those or so.

Toss ’em into your pan.

Now, criminis.

Chop them and drop them.

Stir those around.

Mushrooms are very porous. So, they soak up olive oil quickly. However, they need the oil to cook the way we want them to.

So, once all of the mushrooms are in the pan, look them over. If they are looking parched, add in some more olive oil.

It is likely that you will need another tablespoon of olive oil at this point. Add it in.

Grab your defrosted spinach and wring out the extra water. A lot of people will tell you to use a clean kitchen towel for this task. I prefer to use just my hands. Sure, I lose a spinach leaf or two. But I don’t ruin a kitchen towel.

This is what your mushrooms should look like.

Once they look like that… softened, slightly browned, and cooked… add in your spinach.

Really, you just want to warm your spinach through.

Time to season our filling.

A bit of salt (1/2 teaspoon).

And a touch of pepper (1/4 teaspoon).

Now, in a separate bowl, put in your mascarpone cheese.

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese, and I think it is similar to cream cheese. However, it is not that sweet and it is a lighter texture.

Most regular grocery stores carry mascarpone cheese in their cheese section (mine is near the feta and goat cheese). I did have to ask the worker where the heck the mascarpone was.

If you can’t find mascarpone, you could use Ricotta cheese.

Now, add in your shredded parm.

Add in your mushroom and spinach mixture, and give it all a stir.

Your filling is done.

Now, we shall  begin our pasta dough.

There is nothing on the planet like homemade pasta dough.

If you haven’t made it, there is no time like the present to try. Right?

Start with flour- about 3 1/2 cups. Put it in a pile on your counter.

And then make a well in the center.

Crack 4 eggs into the center of the well.

Add just the slightest drizzle (1/2 t.) of olive oil.

And then, because I was feeling crazy, I decided to make this into red wine pasta dough. If you wanted just a regular dough, simply leave out the wine.

If you like just the slightest little hint of wine in your pasta dough, add in 2 T of red wine.

Now, carefully whisk your eggs and wine together.

Gradually encourage some of that flour surrounding your eggs to join the whisk party.

It took me a few times making pasta dough before I could effectively incorporate the flour without breaking through my flour wall. If that happens to you, no worries!!

Just quickly use your hands to knead the whole thing together.

Ideally, you’ll be able to continue incorporating the flour slowly so that you can see a dough begin to form.

Once the mixture is to a thicker consistency, get your clean hands in there.

Pull in just enough flour to make a soft dough.

The amount of flour needed is pretty obvious as you work with the dough.

Don’t try to force in the entire amount of dough left on your counter. You will not use it all.

Knead the dough until you have a dough slightly thicker than a pizza crust dough. It should be soft and workable. Knead the dough another 5-6 minutes. After that time it should be somewhat elastic in consistency and a little sticky.

Wrap it in plastic wrap, set it aside, and let that poor dough rest for about 30 minutes. It just had a pretty solid workout!

I am the lucky and proud owner of the Kitchen Aid mixer pasta dough roller attachment. It makes the next step very easy for me.

There are also hand cranks that can help you flatten out your pasta.

If you don’t have either of those (which I imagine most people don’t), get out your handy dandy rolling pin.

Roll the dough.

Until it is pretty gosh darn thin.

Then lay it out on your clean counter to make your ravioli!

Plop a tablespoon of your filling on your dough spaced about an inch apart.

Now, take either some water or a whisked egg and run it around the edge of each of the stuffing piles.

This will act as your glue.

Take a second sheet of pasta (slightly larger than your first), and lay it gently on top of your piles of filling.

Press the top sheet gently to make a ravioli.

I use kitchen scissors to cut the ravioli out into the circle shape.

This is what they look like.

OK, Step Three.

Are you still with me?

I told you this was a snow day recipe!

We are going to make an easy peasy red sauce to top your ravioli.

Of course, if you are looking for a short cut, you could use a pre-jarred can of pasta sauce.

But truly, this is so easy!

Here is what you’ll need:

Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, chopped

2-3 Garlic Cloves

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 stalk of celery, peeled and chopped

28 oz. of tomatoes (I like a 14 oz can of crushed and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes for more texture in the sauce)

Salt and Pepper

Bay Leaf

1 T. butter

Put a T. of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.

Add in your onion and garlic.

And then your carrot and celery.

Let that cook for 3-4 minutes to let all of the vegetables soften.

Oh, hey there wine.

Want to join the party?

OK!

I just added a splash (1/4 c).

Let that cook 1-2 minutes.

Add in your maters.

Put in 1 1/2 t. of salt, 1/2 t. pepper, and a bay leaf or two.

Stir it up, and then because it is a cold snow day, plop in some butter.

Mmmmmm.

Let that simmer for 10ish minutes.

Aaaaaaaaand, sauce is done.

Get some water boiling.

Once it boils, add in a teaspoon or salt.

Carefully drop in your raviolis.

Once they rise to the top of the water, they are done. It takes only 3 minutes or so!

I added a little olive oil to the water while those buddies were cooking. It helps the pasta not stick together once it is drained.

Grab your strainer!

Get all of the extra liquid off of those ravioli.

Pile them on a plate and top it with your sauce.

Grate some parm on top and serve with something green.

As I said at the beginning, this isn’t is 10 minute simple meal but it is so good.

You haven’t lived until you have had homemade pasta or ravioli. The difference is unbelievable.

I hope you are surviving the snow and ice if you are in one of the cities getting slammed.

Happy Cold and Snow!

XO,

Leah

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