Homemade Ravioli Two Ways: Dinner Salvaged

Ravioli are fussier than my usual fare—usually consisting of forgiving indelicate creations—but I wanted to try my hand at them, especially if I didn’t have to make my own pasta dough. (Someday I will get a pasta machine, but maybe not until I have a kitchen large enough to accommodate it.) Also, it gave me the chance to control what was inside my ravioli. I can’t stand ricotta cheese, and tofu makes a surprisingly tasty low-fat, high protein substitution. If you don’t tell your family, they might not even notice.

Several recipes I read online for ravioli made out of wonton wrappers suggest I should cook them one at a time. I rejected this direction on principal; I cook in bulk. It takes me long enough to figure out what ingredients are going in, find them, prepare them and assemble the ravioli themselves, but then I’m going to immerse and fish them out individually in three minute intervals? If we each eat six ravioli that’s 36 minutes of standing in front of the simmering pot just for the two of us. It reminds me of the Julia Child omelet episode where she claims that being the omelet chef and making everyone’s omelet to order would be a great party idea because each one only takes a minute to cook. At the end of the episode she says you could serve a hundred people this way. I am exhausted and cranky just imagining it.

No, the ravioli went into the pot six at a time in a single layer. Besides, imagine ravioli one and two after numbers eleven and twelve are finally cooked—cold and welded to the serving bowl. I only cooked twelve total, which was plenty, and left twelve more for another dinner. The batch we ate that night were quite tasty and light, but made a satisfying meal.

The second dinner portion, however looked doomed. I had just stacked them in a plastic container in the fridge which caused them to moisten and weld together into a pasta and filling brick.

Clumped, soggy ravioli out of the fridge

Wayne had mentioned he wondered what they’d taste like baked, so using some olive oil to carefully peel apart the wontons, I lightly coated the pan with more olive oil and lay them in a single, slightly overlapping layer in a glass casserole dish and covered them in red sauce, sprinkled a little parmesan cheese and popped them into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Perfect! I made sure all parts were covered in sauce so as not to burn the pasta.

Sort of a lasagna made of salvaged ravioli

If I had more sauce I could’ve put sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking, and thereby used less fat, but it was fine this way. I didn’t add much cheese, mindful that there was plenty of cheese inside the little buggers. These baked guys were easier to eat than the boiled ones from a few nights before since once they came out of the water, they liked to stick to one another in a heap. (One could intersperse sauce between ravioli to keep this from happening). The baked ravioli came out slightly crispy on top, which also improved the texture from the boiled version because wonton wrappers are just not the same texture-wise as real ravioli pasta, and they’re thinner as well. Instead of boiling any of them, one could layer up a pan with two layers of the ravioli and bake them all at once, though at that point you might feel like you’re eating lasagna, in which case, why enclose them in pasta squares in the first place?

Relatively Quick, Relatively Low-Fat Vegetarian Mushroom Ravioli

  • ½ package firm tofu, squished with a fork
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½  tsp dried basil
  • ½  tsp dried oregano
  • ¼  tsp minced fresh rosemary (or pinch dried)
  • 1 package wonton skins
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. Mix the tofu and parmesan in a bowl
  2. Sauté the portabellas and garlic in the olive oil and then lay on a paper towel and pat with a second paper towel to get rid of any excess oil that might prevent the wonton wrappers from sticking together.
  3. Transfer the mushrooms and garlic to a cutting board and chop mushrooms finely
  4. Add the portabellas and garlic and all the spices to the tofu-parmesan mixture. Mix.
  5. Put a teaspoon of mixture on the middle of a wonton wrapper.
  6. Wet the edges and put another wrapper on the top. Scrunch down the edges with a fork to further seal and prettify.
  7. In a deep sauté pan, bring water to a simmer. Add a bit of olive oil.
  8. Carefully lower ravioli in a single layer and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue cooking the next batch.

Serve with your favorite red sauce

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