Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cheater's Ravioli

I love stuffed pasta, and I know how much better homemade stuffed pasta is than store bought (unless you're talking about the pasta from Duso's at Granville Island Public Market, but again that's freshly made.) I had to try Giada de Laurentiis's recipe that uses egg roll wrappers. A great time saving part of this recipe, but I realized after trying them that for me it's not worth it. It's really weird to be eating ravioli when the dough is an egg roll wrapper - it tastes like an Italian style dumpling or something like that. And I definitely don't like dumplings/pot stickers when they're boiled or steamed, pan fried all the way! I could've tried pan fried ravioli then but I didn't think of it then. Next time! In a way, I think using egg roll wrappers is good if you've never made stuffed pasta before. There's already so much to do making a billion ravioli, and this way you can build up your stuffed pasta making confidence before moving on to making your own dough.

The filling that Giada uses is spinach and mushroom. I'm not sure why I thought I would like this since I really don't like cooked/wilted spinach - love raw spinach though. I was probably thinking it would be good for me. Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of the taste of the spinach mushroom ravioli though others liked it. Luckily, all was not lost because I had mistakenly thought I needed 6 cups of mushrooms when I only needed 6 ounces. This left me with tons of mushrooms, so I ended up coming up with my own filling (gasp, I'm coming up with my own recipes now!) The filling I created was sauteed mushrooms, pine nuts, ricotta, Parmesan, and basil, and I thought it was quite tasty. I also used a lot less oil when sauteeing the mushrooms for this one.

I spent hours making ravioli. I've only made pot stickers before (in regards to stuffed things), and I felt the same way both times when making them. It just feels like your pile of filling is never going to end and is not getting any smaller. It's quite the triumphant feeling to see an empty bowl and be able to sit down finally. Though I could've done this all sitting down, I had set it up on the kitchen counter and didn't want to bother moving everything. Anyway, I was left with tons of little raviolis to put in the freezer for a quick meal another day.

For the sauce, I used the recommended mushroom marinara sauce (which was actually quite tasty and used up my leftover marinara sauce) on half and then just butter and Parmesan on the other half. When I'm eating really tasty stuffed pasta, I prefer just using butter and Parmesan instead of a heavier sauce that might take away from the flavour of the pasta. The mushroom marinara sauce went really well with the ravioli though, I must say. The mushroom marinara sauce is really easy to make - saute mushrooms until liquid evaporates, add marinara sauce (store bought or your favourite homemade one, or you could try this one) and let it simmer for a few minutes.

I'm submitting this to Ruth for Presto Pasta Night. I know it's early in the week, but last week I almost missed it and I want to make sure I have a post for it, especially since this is the 6 month-aversary of Presto Pasta Night!

Spinach & Mushroom Ravioli, Mushroom Pine Nut Ravioli
(adapted from Everyday Italian)

Spinach & Mushroom Ravioli
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (about 6 big mushrooms)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
10-oz (300g) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
6 egg roll wrappers
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

In a large saute pan, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium-high flame. Add the sliced button mushrooms and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a coarse texture forms. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl and stir in 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and the ricotta. Season the filling with more salt and pepper to taste.

Mushroom Pine Nut Ravioli
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
15 large button mushrooms (about 15 ounces)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp freeze dried basil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese

In a large saute pan, heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high flame. Add the sliced button mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl of a food processor. Add pine nuts and basil. Pulse until a coarse texture forms. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl and stir in 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and the ricotta. Season the filling with more salt & pepper to taste.

Instructions for both:
Lightly flour a baking sheet. Arrange 3 egg roll wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg and water mixture. Using a tablespoon, spoon 4 mounds of the ravioli mixture 1 inch apart on each wrapper, forming 2 mounds on the first row and 2 mounds on the second. Top each with another wrapper and press around the filling to seal the edges. Using a fluted ravioli cutter (or in my case, a pizza cutter), cut out the ravioli squares, forming 16-20 total. Place the ravioli on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a clean towel.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the ravioli (or scoop out using a slotted spoon). Spoon whatever sauce you're using over the ravioli and serve immediately.

Note: If freezing the ravioli, freeze them as they're laid out on the baking sheet (so they don't stick together). Once frozen you can put them into another container.


Ruth Daniels said...

I love your thought process and the great photos. Plus...there is nothing better than when a screw up turns into something even better than the recipe I try.

Thanks so much for coming the Presto Pasta Night HUGE six month celebration party.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I think these look scrumptious!
I'm a sucker for stuffed pasta, too, and spinach + ricotta is one of my favorite flavors.

The Cooking Ninja said...

These looks divine. :)

Sophie said...

That's a shame the egg roll wrappers weren't quite right - such a quick shortcut and they look the part! Your different fillings all look lovely

eatme_delicious said...

ruth: Yea I'm really happy my screw up worked out well this time. :)

patricia: Thanks! Mmm stuffed pasta...

the cooking ninja: Thanks. :)

sophie: I was happy to try the egg roll wrappers once to see how they were, but as you said, they weren't quite right! Ah well.

CarJa said...

These look very tasty! For weeks i've been telling myself i should make home-made raviolis...I was thinking of using egg roll wrappers but based on what i just read i'm going to go straight to making my own dough. Thanks!

eatme_delicious said...

carja: Good luck with your ravioli and dough! :)

メロヂイ said...

I finally got around to making some "ravioli" like yours after seeing them in your blog. i used gyoza skins and found that panfrying them wasn't as good as boiling them. And eating them with just butter was better than with a storebought sauce. I used spinach, cream cheese (couldnt find ricotta), olive oil, oregano, sat and pepper for the filling. not half bad i suppose!

eatme_delicious said...

Cream cheese sounds like it would be delicious. :) Yea they're not as good as they would be if they were made with real pasta dough but they're okay for something quicker. Though I think I'd prefer to spend the extra time making my own dough because the egg roll wrappers don't taste so good as pasta.

Anonymous said...

a better way to cheat with ravioli is to use fresh lasagne sheets. I'm not sure where you people come from, but we can buy them in the refrigerator section of any supermarket in australia. they work really well.... the best ravioli filling i have ever had was basil and ricotta.
And another thing to remember is only try and make it dinner for 2, at least to start with, as it is time consuming!

michele said...

you might try experimenting with different brands of wrappers. i have found a vast range of thickness and delicacy -- if you can find a really thin wrapper, you will get a light ravioli (or tortellini, my preferred filled shape) to rival any homemade pasta.