Carbonara is one of those dinners we make on a night when we don’t want to spend a ton of money and when there’s not much in the house. It’s easy, we usually have some bacon in the fridge and it’s a comforting, filling dinner that is so good. Nothing really tops bacon, eggs and cream.
I wanted to encapsulate all the elements of carbonara in a single bite, but also add something healthy to it so I wouldn’t feel as guilty about making something so fatty. The spinach in the pasta wound up being a sort of half-assed attempt at being healthful, but it definitely made the ravioli more colorful. I love the idea of the egg yolk inside the pasta – it’s like the dough of the pasta acts like the egg whites would, protecting the yolk and allowing you to cook the ravioli as if it were an egg itself. These little ravs with the warm quail yolk inside tasted just like a bite of carbonara. It was worth the work to taste that whole dish in one mouthful.
For the Dough:
4 whole eggs
5 oz fresh spinach, blanched and puréed
1 tbsp rendered bacon fat
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 cups 00 flour
1. Set a pot of water to boil and have an ice bath ready. Blanch spinach and shock. Squeeze out excess water.
2. Dice bacon and render until crispy. Reserve bacon dice and fat separately.
3. In a food processor, blend together eggs, spinach, rendered bacon fat, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
4. On a clean work surface, make a well with the flour. Pour spinach and egg mixture into well and combine using a fork.
5. When the dough starts to come together, knead with your hands for 10-15 minutes until the gluten is well developed. Keep extra flour on hand in case dough is too wet.
6. You will know your dough is ready when an imprint made with your finger in the dough bounces back to its original shape. Wrap in plastic and let rest in fridge 30 minutes.
For the Ravioli:
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup bacon, diced and rendered
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
20 quail eggs, yolks separated
1. Mix ricotta, bacon, and parsley in a bowl. Season to taste.
2. When dough has rested, roll out using a pasta roller into 3 inch wide strips. Flour a work surface and lay out pasta.
3. Make round, circular wells of the ricotta filling 2 inches apart on half the strips. Reserve the other half of your pasta strips for the top layer of the ravioli.
4. Separate the yolks of the quail eggs and delicately place them in the ricotta wells.
5. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush water onto the dough surrounding the filling.
6. Top the ravioli strip with the second layer of pasta. Use your fingers to press the pasta layers together tightly to seal in the filling securely.
7. Use a circular cutter to cut out the ravs. Boil for 1 minute until pasta is cooked. Be careful not to over cook or the yolks will not remain runny.
8. Serve with butter or plain. Ravioli is self-saucing.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle