Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Toasted" Ravioli

I put "toasted" in quotes because that's really just a euphemistic way of saying "fried." I could have also put "ravioli" in quotes, because instead of using up any of our precious, real, from-scratch Zanone Family Recipe ravioli for this cocktail-hour favorite, I use some of the inevitable leftover filling and won ton wrappers. I can't give you the actual filling recipe, because if I did I'd have to kill you, but the one I will give you is quicker and easier anyway. You could also experiment with your own fillings. Ravioli was originally designed to use up leftovers, really. At first glance this may look labor intensive, but it's all pretty basic and mindless. It's easier than it sounds and the results are sooo worth it. Serve with marinara sauce.

Most grocery stores sell won ton wrappers, although I bought them super cheap at an Asian market near my work. There are about a billion in a package, but I usually get two just to be safe if I'm cooking for a crowd. (I'm usually working with an unknown quantity of leftover filling and just make them until I get tired of cooking and my guests get tired of eating, so outcome amounts for this recipe are inexact, to say the least.) You will need a food processor to grind the filling. If you end up with extra, freeze it and use it later in lasagna or stuffed pasta like jumbo shells.


1 lb Italian sausage (in bulk or removed from casings)
1 bag or box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible (I put it in a thin dish towel and wring it out)
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3-5 cloves garlic, minched
1 small onion, chopped
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped (optional)

Brown sausage, crumbling as it cooks. Dump into strainer over a bowl and leave it there for a minute. Sautee onion in small amount of remaining fat for two or three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook a few more minutes, then garlic for about 30 seconds before you dump the sausage back in, along with sausage. Stir and cook until everything is well combined.

Process filling in food processor until it is a consistent texture with no big chunks, but not total mush. It should be just wet enough to hold together in a meatball-type configuration. If it seems too wet, add some bread crumbs or cracker crumbs to tighten it up a bit.

Now, make a little assembly line. At one end is a large, deep skillet with about an inch of hot oil in it. Next to that is a plate, next to that a stack of won ton wrappers, next to that your bowl of filling. Somewhere near the wrappers and plate you need a small bowl of water. Lay wrappers on the plate--as many as you can fit without them overlapping. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edges of each wrapper. Now, grab a little bit of filling, make a little ball (dosn't have to be rolled tightly or anything), and put it in the center of the wrapper, then repeat with all the other wrappers. Fold each wrapper over its filling so the edges touch, then press edges together firmly. I sometimes make a little fold to reinforce this but I'm not sure that's totally necessary. Carefully place each ravioli in hot oil, filling skillet but not crowding it (I usually keep adding as I make them, but you can do distinct batches if you don't like things to be at different stages of doneness in the same pan). Once the underside looks golden, gently flip them. Move to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve, but serve as soon after cooking as possible.

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