Steal This Recipe® Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli | Al Teatro, Chicago

November 11, 2010

This classic Italian recipe was ‘stolen with permission’ from owner and chef Dominick Geraci of the Italian eatery Ristorante Al Teatro, which is located in the historic Thalia Hall, Chicago.

This classic Italian recipe was ‘stolen with permission’ from owner and chef Dominick Geraci of the Italian eatery Ristorante Al Teatro, which is located in the historic Thalia Hall, Chicago. The building dates from 1892, when it served as a hall for meetings, and musical and theatrical productions. Dominick Geraci and his family fell in love with the place, purchased the property and restored it to its former glory, renovating vast residential and retail spaces – two of which are the where you can find Ristorante Al Teatro. The restaurant features homemade artisan gelato, fresh roasted coffee, and homemade pasta and pastries; authentic Italian fare at its finest.

The large restaurant space also boasts a wine cellar and a brick oven pizza, the gelateria and an even an Italian coffee shop. Late at night the restaurant transforms into a haven for people to enjoy entertainment, lively cocktails and great pizza, and in the not too distant future Dominick hopes to restore the actual theatre part of the nationally landmarked building to its former glory, and reopen it as a multi-purpose theatre space. In the meantime, if you are in Chicago, stop by for some fabulous gelato and an espresso, this fabulous ravioli, or some of the other delicious classic Italian dishes on the menu at Al Teatro!

About the chef: Dominick Geraci came to Chicago from Sicily, Italy as a teenager along with his parents; to reunite with his grandparents. After high school he went into the grocery business opening a unique Italian deli, butcher and pasta shop on the Northwest side of Chicago called Primo Specialty Foods. While running the store, Dominick also set up small fresh pasta shops across the country. In 1993, he sold Primo Specialty Foods and went into the real estate business. That’s when he became involved in the redevelopment of Thalia Hall; the historic Chicago building that now houses his restaurant, Al Teatro. Dominick, his wife Catherine and their children run the authentic Italian eatery and a true artisan gelateria in Chicago called Caffé Gelato.

Ristorante Al Teatro
1227 W. 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
312 784 9100

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli is served at Al Teatro for $15.95.
This recipe makes 5 restaurant servings.

Please note: this recipe uses a pasta maker, a ravioli cutter and a brush.

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli Filling Ingredients:
8 oz sautéed spinach (lightly sautéed in 1 tablespoon of olive oil)
8 oz Ricotta cheese
1.5 eggs yolks
¼ teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 oz breadcrumbs
A tiny dash of Angostura Bitters
A tiny pinch of ground nutmeg

Ravioli Pasta Dough Ingredients:
3.5 whole eggs
2.5 egg yolks
½ cup water
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Ingredients for Plating, per Serving:
4 Ravioli pieces (about 6 ½ oz)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
6 oz tomato sauce
3 basil leaves (chopped)
4 teaspoons Ricotta cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Filling:
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Ravioli Pasta Dough:
Beat together the eggs, water, salt and olive oil. 
On a suitable table, counter top, or pastry board, shape the flour into a mound with a dip in the middle and gradually mix in the egg mixture – having poured it into the middle of the mound.
Gradually combine it all together and when combined knead the pasta dough together until you achieve a uniform consistency.
Let it rest, covered with a cloth or Saran Wrap for 10 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 – 6 pieces and start rolling it with a rolling pin on the cleaned, floured surface (where you combined the ingredients). Roll the pieces until they are thin enough to put into your pasta machine. 
Gradually tighten the machine to achieve a thin, flexible dough sheet.
Dust the dough sheets with flour.
Flour and lay out a few pieces of the dough. The raviolis for the recipe are about 3 inches square.
Brush the sheets with lukewarm water.
Put a scoop of filling on the pieces of dough in intervals, giving enough space around them to make 3 inch square raviolis.
Brush around the filling with lukewarm water and lay the top pieces of pasta on top.
Cut using a ravioli cutter, which cuts and seals the raviolis – they are now ready to be cooked, or frozen and cooked at a later date.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli:
Gently heat the olive oil in a pan over medium, add the tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes. 
Add the butter, basil, and salt and pepper.
Cook the raviolis in a large pan of salted boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender. 
Drain the raviolis then add them to the sauce pan, turning them once. 
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and little balls of Ricotta cheese and serve.