Friday, July 26, 2013

Homemade Ravioli

When I first read Pioneer Woman's blog, this was the first post I ever read and ever since then, I've been making "homemade" ravioli. It only sounds fancy and complicated but I promise you, it's wicked easy.  It's one of the those recipes that, although not necessarily complicated, can take a while to make from start to finish. Maybe it's just me, but they also are a bit messy when making them. 

On the positive side, they make a TON of ravioli, freeze incredibly well, and are insanely easy to prepare on a weekday night.  

Anyways, back to the ravioli. I usually make two kinds of ravioli at once: a cheese ravioli and a ground beef ravioli.

For the cheese filling: 
-2 large containers of whole milk ricotta cheese (part skim or other types of ricotta cheese do not freeze well)
-Mozzarella cheese
-Parmesan cheese
-4 Wedges of Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow cheese
-Romano cheese
-1-2 eggs
-Salt and Pepper
-Olive Oil

*Please note that one of the great aspects about these recipes is that it is very forgiving. Don't have mozzarella cheese? No worries. You can use any combination of cheese that you like. Don't like spinach? Try arugula. Or kale. Or nothing. Whatever floats your boat on this one. You can very easily add more or less of any kind of cheese or other ingredients as you go along on this. 

1. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. When oil is hot, add spinach and let wilt down. Let cool and cut into smaller pieces. 
2. Mix cheeses, egg,  and spinach until very well incorporated. 

Beef Filling:
-1 lb. ground beef (I use 90/10)
-Chopped onions 
-Minced garlic

*Another forgiving filling-add in sauteed peas and carrots for an additional veggie boost.  I'm thinking some Worcestershire sauce will probably be a good addition to this as well. Like I said, this is your boat. Float it however you want. 

1. Brown beef in skillet set over medium-high. Add onions and garlic. 

2. Cook until no longer pink and onions are translucent. 

3. Transfer to a bowl.

Directions: How to make the ravioli
-Egg wash (I use two eggs and a bit of water)
-Won Ton wrappers (I used three packages of Nasoya Won Ton wrappers but easily had more than enough filling for a fourth or fifth package)


-Cooking  spray stuff
-Filling of your choice

1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and spray with oil. It's very important to spray oil where ever the ravioli are going to touch the wax paper; otherwise, they will stick to the paper. 

2. Line up won ton wrappers and brush the perimeter of the won ton wrapper with the egg wash.

3. Add a scoop of filling onto the won ton wrapper.

4. I found that it is easier to use two won ton wrappers for the beef ravioli and make a square for the beef filling. Once you have laid out the wrappers with the egg wash and put a scoop of filling (a teaspoon or so) onto the wrapper, gently lay another wrapper on top and press down on the sides to seal. It sometimes takes me a few raviolis or so to get into the groove of it, but once I've got the rhythm and process down, I'm good to go.  

5. With cheese filling, I find that one won ton wrapper is enough and they become triangular shaped. (This also helps to differentiate the two when they are in the freezer). To make these, I keep the won ton wrapper in my non-dominate hand, brush the wash on to the perimeter and add a teaspoon or so of the filling. Then, fold the bottom corner up to meet the top corner and seal the sides. If there is too much filling, the cheese mixture should just squeeze itself out when you press and seal it.  




Additional tips and things to consider: 

1. When you run out of room on the cookie sheets, simply spray the top of the ravioli with cooking spray and then lay another sheet of wax paper on top. It's important to spray to prevent the either side of the ravioli from sticking to wax paper. 

2. I used Glad's Press'n Seal on the first and last layer. This helps to secure them on the cookie sheet and prevent freezer burn. 
3. I like to let the ravioli firm up in the freezer for at least 24 hours before I transfer them from the cookie sheet to a plastic bag. 

4. Once they are frozen completely, I take them off the cookie sheets and put into plastic zip lock bags and keep in the freezer until I need them. It's also helpful that they are different shapes. 

When all is said and done, I ended up making 30 beef ravioli and 93 (yes, 93!!!) cheese ravioli's this time. I had plenty more filling to make more of each but I ran out of won ton wrappers first. Stay tuned for what I did with the remaining cheese mixture!  

How to Cook the Ravioli: 

So remember when I said the frozen ravioli were pathetically easy to prepare? I'm taking no defrost time needed, and three minutes of prep time or less....and no dishes necessary either. Score!

Ready. Set Go. 

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Put frozen ravioli in an oven safe dish and top with tomato sauce of choice. (Bonus points if you use a disposable pan and throw it out when you're done.)
3. Bake until it is warmed through. I've pulled it out of the oven as soon as twenty minutes and left it in there as long as 45 minutes. 

See, pathetically easy.

Now, throw the disposable pan in the trash and relish in the fact of how much time and energy you saved instead of slaving over the hot stove making dinner tonight. 

I always find it worth it to have a steady supply of ravioli in the freezer. They are cheaper than buying in a package, and once you put the initial leg work in in the beginning, they are more convenient to make on a busy weekday night. They are great to have on hand for when unexpected company comes over because, let's face it, it is kind of impressive to say "I just whipped up some homemade ravioli."

Yep, I can whip up homemade ravioli on the drop of a dime's notice. 

Question for you: 
What do you prefer, cheese or beef ravioli? 
Do you have any recipes that seem impressive but are pathetically easy to make? 

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