Sep 10, 2014

Spinach....Not! Taiwanese Arden Lettuce and Ricotta Ravioli Served in Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Once a while when I get a full day off without worrying about work and other miscellaneous stuff in life, I'd like to prepare some make ahead food and store them in the freezer. Meat balls, dumplings, chicken stock, homemade pasta, etc. It's quite therapeutic working in the kitchen at a slower pace. Sipping a cup of tea, chopping, kneading, taking food pictures, and of course, with music playing in the background. 

Make ahead recipe can also save a lot of hassles down the road, especially when busy schedule creeps in, preventing you from having a comforting homemade meal. This ravioli recipe can be prepared and stored in the fridge up to months. You can simply cook the ravioli in boiling water for few minutes and pop them in either brown butter or pomodoro sauce. A homemade meal can be done in 10 minutes even leaving you plenty of time to grate the cheese.

Ingredients for ravioli (makes about 50)?

  • 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

  • 3 bundles of arden lettuce or 4 bundles of spinach
  • 2 cups/450 grams of ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Small pinch of black pepper

Ingredients for sage brown butter sauce (for 2 portions)?

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig of sage 
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Some grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Simply use the stainless steel bowl from the mixer, add in the flour and try to leave an empty hole in the center. Add the eggs to the center and mix together with the flour using a fork, just blend a little bit. Lastly, turn on the machine and blend till fully incorporated. That's the basic dough for the ravioli. 

Form the dough into few smaller balls and use a pasta machine to shape them into 1/8 inch pasta sheets.

I couldn't find spinach so used Taiwanese arden lettuce (A菜) as a substitute. Of course spinach works the best and is the most classic ingredient for this recipe. Cook the green vegetable in boiling water seasoned with a little bit of salt. Cook till wilted. Drain well and soak in cold water filled with ice cubes. Once cools down, drain well and squeeze dry with a towel, leaving no moisture if possible. 

Chop the vegetable into fine pieces or blend in food processor, transfer to a big bowl. Also add in the ricotta cheese, egg, heavy cream, Parmigiano, nutmeg, black pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Mix well.

Lay one ravioli sheet on a floured surface. Use a smaller spoon and scoop the filling mixture onto the sheet, leaving some space in between. Take another sheet and fold over gently, seal the edges with your finger and cut into individual squares. Use the tines of a fork to press down the edges of each individual ravioli. 

I freeze each ravioli un-stacked on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the freezer. Wait for about 30 minutes or till hardened. This will prevent the ravioli from sticking to each other. Once ready, I separate the ravioli in 2 to 3 batches and store in Ziploc bags. The ravioli should stay fresh up to 6 months in the freezer. You can also sprinkle some cornmeal throughout to prevent from sticking.

As for the ravioli that will be devoured right away, prepare a pot of salted boiling water and cook the ravioli till flow up to the surface. If cooking frozen ravioli, cook for about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Here's the recipe for simple sage brown butter sauce:

Heat up the butter in a skillet. Add in sage, nutmeg and cook for 2 minutes in medium heat. The sage leaves will become crunchy and resembles a crumbling texture. Add in cooked and drained ravioli, mix well and transfer onto a serving plate.

Garnish with sage leaves and top with generous amount of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. I forgot to add the cheese in the beginning but glad I finally realized something was missing when I still have 2 ravioli left on my plate.

Make sure to use good quality Parmigiano Reggiano instead of pre-grated Parmesan cheese. 


  1. Now I know how A lettuce comes about - it means Arden Lettuce:P

    1. That was what I thought when first found out about the English name of this Chinese veggie!