Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shrimp and Spinach Ravioli Three Ways

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you likely know we love to do taste tests here at Almost Heaven South and this meal presented a great opportunity.  When we made our first pasta dough a couple of weeks ago, we put half of it in the freezer with the idea of using it for our first ever homemade ravioli.  This is a long post, so if you don't want to read it all, please read the verdict at the bottom.

My plan was to have Cajun and make crawfish ravioli from a recipe I’d discovered, but alas, the crawfish tails could not be found, so I decided to just substitute shrimp.  Then the chief cook around here decided she’d rather have something else, did a little search on the web, and found a recipe she wanted to use, but she also wanted spinach in it.  I’ve learned that when she’s happy, I’m happy, so the plan sounded great to me.

So we agreed (read last sentence above) on a recipe from Epicurious for Shrimp Ravioli With Rosa Vodka Sauce, especially since it was simple and had the vodka sauce I’d been wanting to try since seeing a similar one on Kathy’s blog over at Spoonful Of Thyme.

We used these ingredients for the filling and it is per the original except we substituted spinach for the parsley.


1 lb of shrimp, after cleaning
2 gloves of garlic minced
3 T of salted butter
1/2 lb of ricotta
3 eggs
3 T parmesean cheese
1 lb fresh spinach, sautéed in butter to remove the water (I cooked it pretty dry) 

Cook the shrimp in butter until pink, drain and chop very fine in a food processor (original recipe called for pureed).  The original said to stir into the remaining filling ingredients in a medium bowl, but I decided to add the garlic to the food processor with the shrimp and when it was almost the size I wanted, I added the spinach.

Then I mixed with the other ingredients.

Now this is where the taste test came in.  Since we didn’t know what sauce our guests would want, we decided to make the Rosa Vodka Sauce, an Alfredo Sauce, and a Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce.  Here are the sauce recipes.

Rosa Vodka Sauce

2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
5 T unsalted butter
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
2/3 C Vodka
3/4 C heavy cream
1 large can (28 oz) pureed or crushed tomatoes (I used a qt of our home canned tomatoes, drained off some of the water, and the immersion blender to chop them up). 

In a sauce pan, add butter, garlic cloves and pepper flakes and saute until garlic is cooked. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will be bitter. Add vodka and simmer 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley and cream and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add salt for taste and serve with ravioli. 

Alfredo Sauce - from Allrecipies

1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. Stir in parsley and serve. 

Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce - adapted from

1 stick salted butter
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic ran thru the garlic press 

Melt butter and add juice and garlic, cook on low heat about 5 minutes. 

We made the vodka sauce and the ravioli filling before the guests (SIL Pat and buddies Joe and Carol) and had everything ready for the other sauces.  After they arrived we made up the ravioli.  We used the dough we'd frozen from our first pasta experience, allowed it to come to room temperature and rolled it to #4 in the pasta machime.

Then we turned on the pasta water and set down to a nice Beverly tossed salad.

We decided for the taste test we would cook some ravioli and try with one sauce before moving to the next one and we started with the Alfredo, as it was the mildest. We cooked and plated the ravioli then topped with the sauce and some parsley.

Then it was the Lemon Butter where we cooked the ravioli and tossed them with the sauce in the skillet then plated and topped with grated parmesan and parsley.

And finally the Vodka Sauce, again plated, sauced, and topped with cheese and parsley.  Unfortunately I only took one bad shot, but here is the sauce in the pan.

The Verdict:  The dough ended up being much tougher and more rubbery than the original and from now on we'll make just enough to cook and not try freezing it.  This half dough recipe made 20 nice sized ravioli although I crowed them in and made 30.  Our one tablespoon mellon baller worked perfectly for adding the filling.  The spinach and shrimp worked well together, and the filling was very shrimpy.

The Alfredo sauce had a good flavor but it was too thin - perhaps I should have packed the cheese tightly when I measured it, but next time I may start with a half strength roux to make sure it thickens.  The lemon sauce was not quite lemony enough so next time I'll add another tablespoon of lemon juice.  The vodka sauce had a good flavor but it was also too thin - it was my favorite with the shrimp though. 

And for dessert, Bev had made a batch of Death By Chocolate Cookies.

A great thing about this meal was we got to experience several firsts – homemade ravioli, using frozen homemade dough, the filling, and the three sauce recipes, but the very best part was the visiting and Carol walking around the kitchen, using a tablespoon as a microphone and doing a play-by-play of the cooking, ala Alton Brown from Kitchen Stadium.  I only wish we'd gotten a video of it - I don't think she realizes how funny she can be.  While the food was just okay, it was a great evening.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  Crappie And Rotel

Two years ago:  Special Breakfasts For Alex


01/14/2012 meal date


  1. What an amazing meal Big Dude. I know I would enjoy it all from start to finish.

  2. Something about pureed shrimp just doesn't sound good. I would have chopped it too. But everything about these sauces sound really good. Interesting about the frozen dough getting all rubbery. I've accidentally taken movie shots with my little point and shoot a couple of times. Didn't realize it was on the wrong setting, taken a shot, set the camera down and it's running. Party goers antics are pretty funny. And by the way, I've never heard of a Sable either. That's just what Kirsten called them. :)

  3. Yes, the best part is you two enjoying the time together. I am wishing you had videoed it too!!

  4. Well the dough is tricky you can't reroll scraps it makes it tough and too much liquid. I have a great dough recipe, but the secret is not playing with it too much. Always a melt in your mouth dough.
    I think for your first time they look fantastic for sure... I sure would have eaten these the filling is perfect. We love spinach and meatballs crushed together filling.
    Either way the sauce, the technique is spot on nice job!

  5. Your sauce recipe looks fabulous..I add some olive oil to my pasta dough and my dough turns out perfect every time..I have the recipe posted on my blog..Happy Cooking from my kitchen to yours~ :)

  6. You can delete this after I send it.. Egg noodles are different as they want to be a little tougher and chewy. Here is the Ravioli link. I really am trying hard to get the recipe index done. Then that will be so much easier to find...
    Thank you for your support your a great blogger and the presentation is outstanding always!

  7. Larry, Looks like a great meal...and those cookies are just killer! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  8. yeah, video would have been hilarious. Three sauces at once, rather ambitious testing, especially with homemade raviolli getting made too. I bet that was a busy kitchen.

  9. I have been wanting to try making vodka sauce. So the frozen dough is a no go? This has inpired me to bring out my pasta machine again. Sounds like a fun time even though you said the food wasn't the best. But that lady sounds funny- a video would have been a hoot!


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