Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcomed Home with Some Fried Ravioli

Isn't that cute little whale-shaped ravioli adorable? I didn't plan it that way, and I tend to think that its the only one that turned out like that... but who cares! I might just go out and get all kinds of silly-shaped cookie cutters and get on with having all sorts of wild raviolis... bunny faces, shamrocks, tea cups, Abe Lincoln! Boowhahahahaaaa!


I'd asked my husband what he'd want to eat when he returned from his business trip a few weeks ago, and he requested these fried raviolis. I'd made them for our last two New Year's Day parties (and this last time, I forgot to photograph them until after everyone left!) The nice thing about these tasty little fellows is that they can be almost entirely prepared ahead of time. (Which makes them AWESOME for parties!) I was happy about his choice, too, because I knew that I could make them the night before - which would free up my time for fawning all over him! (Read: lay around and eat all the fancy Swiss chocolates he brought home!!!!!) (That, and a giant load of laundry!) Heh.

Strange shapes aside, one of my favorite things about frying ravioli is how they puff up. Something about their pillowy, crunchy-but-gooey goodness is so very dreamy. I am just as happy to pop them in my mouth as I am to sauce them - they're such a nice little snack on their own!

Don't get me wrong, the sauce is terrific, too! I almost always cheat and either use diced or crushed tomatoes in lieu of the whole ones. Unless it makes sense to, of course, I don't see the point in getting whole tomatoes just to take them out and cut them up. (Well, that and whenever I try to do so, I make an amazingly huge mess!) Even better still, I've been using fire-roasted tomatoes in place of normal. Feel free to mess around with YOUR tomatoes, too! :)

Maybe fried pasta doesn't float your boat? Head on over to Ruth's Presto Pasta Night Roundup and you'll be sure to find something delicious. (In fact, I'm positive you will!!) I am so excited for her - next week she'll be celebrating 52 straight weeks of pasta! (I can't think of a better way to spend a year!) Go Ruth!

Fried Ravioli with Hot Sausage Ragu
c/o Emeril Lagasse, 2001, via Food Network,1977,FOOD_9936_18204,00.html

1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated provolone
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 fresh pasta sheet, about 11 by 14-inches, cut into 2-inch squares (to make 32 squares)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Hot Sausage Ragu, recipe follows

In a bowl, combine the cheeses, egg yolk, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Place 16 of the pasta squares on a lightly floured surface. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the center of each square. Lightly wet the edges with water with a fingertip, and top with a plain pasta square. Press to seal the edges.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.

Beat the egg with the water. In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the Essence. Dip the ravioli in the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs, one at a time. Add in batches to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve hot with the Hot Sausage Ragu.

Hot Sausage Ragu:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage (or 1/4 pound hot sausage and 1/4 pound sweet sausage
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch sugar

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, until brown and the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, crushed red pepper salt, basil, oregano and black pepper, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, cream, and sugar, and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick and the flavors are blended, about 30 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep from getting too thick.

Remove from the heat, and cover until needed.

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups


Deborah said...

Oh great, a website dedicated to just cookie cutters. My husband is going to kill me if I buy anything else for the kitchen!!

I've never had fried ravioli before, but I sure could go for some right now!!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...ravioli and frying all in one! This looks yummy and I never thought of it as something I could do at home. A hint with the canned tomatoes - if you want to use whole canned tomatoes (I will admit I usually don't unless they are on sale or I find fancy Italian ones like San Marzano, which are completely worth it) just cut them up in the can with either kitchen shears or a knife - way less mess!

LisaRene said...

I too have never understood the reason for buying whole canned tomatoes only to cut them up. I always go for the diced! There was a lot of work put into these ravioli, very nice welcome home gift!

Ruth Daniels said...

Great post and too, too cute ravioli. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.