Spinach and Sausage "Balliolis"

This past Valentines Day, I made lasagna. And I decided that I wasn’t going to make pasta again until I got myself a pasta roller. Using a rolling pin for it isn’t really that horrible, bit is kind of a pain. Anyway, I got the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid a week or so ago, and I couldn’t wait to play!

I decided that I wanted to try hommade ravioli. I decided on sausage, because I really like those and they’re hard to find in the store. I was originally going to make homemade chicken sausage for these, but then I decided that sounded like too much work. I bet it would be good though!

In order to up the nutritional value, I made spinach pasta and I used whole white wheat flour. Whole white wheat is really nice to work with because it has all of the nutrients and fiber that is found in whole wheat flour, but its soft like white flour and won’t give you that grainy whole wheat texture. This is because it is made from white wheat rather than red wheat, which is harder. I swear you couldn’t tell these were whole wheat at all! The flour can be a little tricky to find, but its definitely worth it (make sure to buy 100% whole white wheat and not a whole wheat- white blend).

As for the shape of these… well, I gave up. I was frustrating myself trying to make “pretty” raviolis, because my pasta kept tearing.  So I ended up just rolling the pasta sheets around the filling and making balls. I dubbed them “balliolis.” I actually thought these were better because I could shove more sausage into them. My husband preferred the more traditional shape though, because the balls didn’t hold sauce very well. Either way, they were really good and are a fun weekend project. If you’re looking for a weeknight pasta, make this into spaghetti and cook the sausage in the sauce instead!

My attempt at the traditional shape

Spinach and Sausage Balliolis

  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups whole white wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground sausage
  • 1 recipe sauce (follows)
  • Grated Romano cheese to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until it turns bright green and softens, about 2 minutes. Drain spinach and wring as much water out of it as posible. Chop finely.

In the bowl of your food processor, combine spinach, flour, and salt. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Add 1 T oil, and mix until the dough comes together to form a single ball.  Rub ball down with remaining oil, wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit for 30 minutes so the gluten can relax.

Meanwhile, brown your sausage in a frying pan, draining as much oil off as you can.

Roll out your pasta either with a rolling pin or a pasta roller. You want to create sheets that are about 4 inches wide, roughtly the same length, and thin enough so that you can see your hand through them. Lay out sheets to dry for a minute or two. Then take one sheet, and spoon a little sauage onto it- you’ll want about 1 tsp sausage per 3 inches of pasta length. Continue spooning on sausage down the lenth of the pasta. Then top with another pasta sheet. Press down to seal the sheets around the sausage and cut raviolis apart with a knife. Roll each ravioli around in your hand to form a sealed ball, or if you have the pateince, crimp around all edges with the tines of a fork for a more traditional shape.

Boil for about 2 minutes, or until they float to the top and the pasta is cooked. Serve with homemade sauce and romano cheese.

Makes about 24 raviolis, which will serve 4. Complete with sauce, each serving clocks in at around 460 calories.

Easy Pasta Sauce

  • 1 large can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T chopped fresh Italian Seasonings

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large straight edge skillet, andbring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about a half hour, until it reduces to about 2 cups of sauce.


  1. Looks great! I’ve been wanting to try to make whole wheat pasta, just haven’t found the time yet.

  2. do it!!! it doesn’t take as long as you’d think… you can have it in an hour, start to finish!

  3. lol! love that name! They look delish :)

  4. LK, those turned out great!! I, too, have been wanting to try and make my own pasta. I think I’ve been putting it off for too long. lol.

  5. I think they look great! So yummie 8)!!

  6. That’s a good idea! Thanks for sharing : )

  7. These sound great!

    If you can find it, Alton Brown had an episode of Good Eats where he made ravioli and showed the process for it. The recipe is here (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/ravioli-recipe/index.html), but doesn’t show the step by step instructions unfortunatly.

  8. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says:

    Balliolis are adorable – love the name and they sound delicious!

  9. I love the idea of adding in spinach. I’ve made my own pasta before – but only using the basic recipe that came with the pasta maker. I think the “balliolis” are too cute – as they say, necessity is the mother of invention!

  10. Don’t you love your new pasta roller? It takes a total of 15 minutes to make homemade pasta – 10 minutes of that is kneading and 4 minutes in cleaning up… For more gadgets – you can get some ravioli presses that you lay one whole sheet of pasta into, drop your filling, and layer another pasta sheet on top. I prefer a small handheld press. It looks like a circular stamp. To prevent tears – i don’t roll the pasta terribly thin. I love your ‘Ballioli’ idea though! These are so cute. thanks for sharing

  11. balliolis! way to give a creative name to this dish! though it hardly needs any saving, it looks so pretty already! so much nicer than regular boring raviolis. next time I make raviolis, I’ll make them like yours into balliolis!

  12. Isn’t the pasta attachment great? We got one a year ago. Have not tried making raviolis yet, but we do make fettuccini and angel hair regularly. Your pasta was tearing too much? Maybe the dough needed just a tad more water to make it easier to work with?

  13. I think you are on to something here….I think this is a great idea…..

  14. I love the name! I have an old fashioned pasta crank… have got to get the machine!

  15. These look great!! These are even better than ravioli-so much plumber! I love the dough-I will definitely be on the lookout for this flour.

  16. I have heard about the pasta attachment of Kitchen Aid, hope i can get a Kitchen Aid in the near future. It must be fun to make your own sausages.

  17. I love your creative name, balliolis. I’ve been toying with the idea of the pasta maker attachment. I may have to get srious after seeing this wonderful dish!

  18. Never seen those ever, balliolis. Interesting.. but they look delicious! :)

  19. Wow Lauren, that looks fantastic!

  20. I love how you turned frustration into triumph! Tres cute – like pasta wrapped meat balls!! I love spinach pasta. I am thinking of getting the pasta attachment to the KA mixer, but I can never seem to truly justify it in my mind while shopping. I think, after reading your post, I will just have to bite the bullet and get one. :) Thanks for sharing!

  21. Hi, My name is Albany Jane, and I love balls…

    Ok for real – yum, these look great! I love thicker dough with my raviolis and noodles – ball form looks perfecto!

    Plus it would also leave me with endless ball jokes for dinner.

  22. I have yet to make my own pasta but these look amazing. I love the fun ball shape too. (and of course you had me at sausage!) ;-)

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