It's National Ravioli Day (Recipe Alert!)

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embedPhoto: Courtesy of Cucina Paradiso.
While today is National Ravioli Day, we don't need an excuse to pierce our forks into a pillowy mass of doughy, cheesy goodness. But, as long as it's on the calendar, why not make some for dinner tonight? And, no, we're not talking about opening a box — or a can — of premade pasta "like mama used to make." Rather, we suggest you try your hand at making your own — if not tonight, this weekend when you have a little more spare time. But, put down that cookbook. We've got a killer recipe for artichoke-arugula ravioli from Anthony Gambino of Cucina Paradiso that is a perfect dish to usher in the spring season. Mangia, mangia!

Artichoke-Arugula Ravioli

Pasta Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water

Filling Ingredients:
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 (10-oz) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 2 tsp water (for egg wash)
1 cup of ricotta cheese

Sauce Ingredients:
8 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups baby arugula
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Preparation:
Blend flour, eggs, salt, and water in food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop-by-drop if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, one hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.

To Make Filling:
Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over a medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté onion, stirring occasionally until golden; about six minutes. Add artichoke hearts and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender; about eight-to-10. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Transfer the artichoke mixture to cleaned bowl of food processor, then add cheese, ricotta, parsley, yolk, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and pulse until mixture is coarsely chopped.

To Roll Pasta and Make Ravioli:
Cut pasta dough into four pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle. Cover rectangles with an inverted large bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting.

Lightly dust one rectangle with flour and feed through rollers. (Keep remaining rectangles under bowl.) Fold rectangle in half and feed it (folded end first) through rollers seven or eight more times, folding it in half each time. Dust with flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding. Continue to feed dough through rollers once at each setting, without folding, until you reach narrowest setting. Dough will be a smooth sheet (about 24-inches long and four-inches wide).

Put sheet of dough on a floured work surface and drop six (1 1/2-teaspoon) mounds of filling 1 1/2-inches apart in a row down the center of one half of the sheet. Brush egg wash around each mound, then fold other half of sheet over filling. Press down firmly around each mound, forcing out air. (Air pockets increase the chance that ravioli will break during cooking.) Cut pasta (between mounds) with cutter into three-inch rounds or squares.

To Cook Ravioli:
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the pasta, about four-to-six minutes until al dente.

While the ravioli cooks, set a large sauté pan over medium to high heat and add the unsalted butter. Let the butter melt and bubble, while gently stirring with a wooden spoon and until fragrant and nutty, with browned bits forming at the bottom of the pan. Drain the pasta and add to the saute pan, making sure to gently toss so that the butter just coats the ravioli. Add a handful or two of baby arugula, a generous pinch of salt, some fresh cracked pepper, and few tablespoons of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. Toss once more to coat all of the pasta and just gently wilt the arugula. Taste for seasoning and serve, if desired, with some fresh chopped parsley.