While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Ooooh, that's the good stuff! March 20 is National Ravioli Day.
When I first started covering food holidays I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I tried to make the food of the day, every day?” That notion lasted all of a minute. Tt was simply too time consuming, so, I chose my battles wisely. Today has got to be one of my favorite days, I’m a ravioli addict.
Ravioli is any filled pasta shape that’s sealed. Different sizes and sealing techniques have different names. Whether it says agnolotti, tortellini (the smaller version of a tortelloni) or sachetti on a menu, they’re all the same thing – a type of ravioli.
Making ravioli might sound daunting, but with some practice it’s pretty easy, and you don’t even need a pasta machine. The beauty of making ravioli at home is that it’s the perfect way to make leftovers seem like a brand new - and rather fancier - meal.
Have extra roasted butternut squash from dinner? Combine it with some goat cheese, sage and bacon bits and you’ve got a restaurant-quality meal made from scratch. Ravioli is also a great way to use up extra bits of produce filling up your fridge.
That onion half, end bit of zucchini and too-small-for-a-dinner-side portion of frozen peas makes a great primavera ravioli. Add some Parmesan cheese to the caramelized vegetables (add the peas in last though) and voila: spring dining at its finest.
As for the pasta, I like an eggy dough. If you’re rolling it out by hand, make sure to let it rest of at least an hour before you start. If not, a simple rolling pin and a well-floured surface are all you need. Ravioli dough can be quite thin because eventually there’ll be two layers. Don’t worry if you can’t get it super skinny – home made pasta tastes so good no one will notice. At least I don’t.
One of my all-time favorite ravioli recipes has to be braised short rib ravioli. It takes some time, but with a slow cooker or some patience, it’s well worth it.
I use Anne Burrell’s braised short rib recipe for this, only I cook mine at 350° not 375° for four hours not three.
Once the short ribs are falling apart, I remove them from the pot and save all the veggies and sauce that are left over. I add a little more tomato paste and red wine, plus a rind of Parmesan cheese and let it bubble away while I make the ravioli.
The pulled-apart meat is so tender it’s easy to portion it out into raviolo. I serve it with the reduced sauce and a little more Parmesan or asiago cheese. It’s a crowd pleaser in the winter, but the same principle can be applied to braised chicken or leftover coq au vin for the spring and summer time.
Next time you’re looking for something elegant to make for dinner, consider the humble raviolo – a peasant dish that’s anything but.
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