1 tablespoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of basil
2 leaves of bay leaves
1 teaspoon of sugar
a pinch of salt and pepper
1 can of italian tomato paste
1 can of italian tomatoes
the pasta roll and filling...
1 package of fresh pasta sheets or 1lb of fresh pasta rolled out as a sheet
1 32 oz container of whole milk ricotta
4oz of hard grating cheese
1 large package of fresh spinach
1/2 cup of pine nuts (optional)
2 eggs (optional)
salt, pepper, parley, basil
1 package of sterilized cheese cloth
Step 1: Starting the Sauce
In a medium sized saucepan, heat the olive oil on a high temperature, add the onions and let them brown.
Once the onions have become transparent and browned, immediately add the fresh tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt, pepper and let this cook for a few minutes in order to brown the tomatoes... then add in the tomato paste,
Once again, let this cook for a few more minutes prior to adding the canned tomatoes, as this addition will stop the browning process. Cook the sauce for about five minutes, then add about 2 cups of water.
Reduce the temperature at this point to a simmer and let cook for about an hour or so, remember to occasionally stir the sauce, as not to allow it to burn on the bottom.
Step 4: Cook the Spinach
Rinse the spinach in a strainer and cut off any remaining stems, place the spinach into boiling water for about five minutes.
Remove and place in a strainer until all liquids have been drained.
Step 5: The Cheese Filling
Mix together...in a large stainless steel mixing bowl, the spinach, ricotta, grating cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley and basil.
Step 6: Filling the Pasta
On a countertop, place a sheet of the pasta and spread the cheese filling evenly across the pasta. Try to get it as close and evenly spread as possible to the edges, be certain that you leave at least a 1/4" from all edges in order to keep it from squeezing out when rolling.
At this time, if you want to use the pine nuts, spread them across the filling.
Step 7: Rolling the Pasta
We have reached the final steps, take the rolled pasta and place in the center of a piece of cut cheese cloth, flap over one end of the cheese cloth to cover the top of the pasta, then roll the cheese cloth around the pasta till it reaches the end. Tie both ends of the cloth with sanitized string or just cut the scraps of the cheese cloth into small pieces and use them to tie the ends.
Step 8: Boiling the Pasta Rolls
In a large saucepan, filled with water and a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of salt, bring to a rapid boil, then drop in the wrapped pasta and cook for five to seven minutes.
Immediaely take the pasta out and put into a strainer and drain, cut the cheese cloth and serve with the sauce.