Serves 4 | Feature: Make-Ahead Meals
Who doesn't love a gourmet ravioli dish from time to time? You know the kind I mean... large, succulent pockets of flavor where the pasta plays the supporting role and the filling takes center stage, no sauce necessary... the kind of ravioli exclusively found in fancy restaurants.
This homemade roasted red pepper ravioli checks off all these things, plus it is a make-ahead meal, too.
I used wonton wrappers in leu of making the pasta from scratch (so much easier!). Wontons are thin yet incredibly sturdy, so you get a translucent ravioli that lets the filling's blush peek through before you even take a bite. Sub in actual basil for the essential oil and that filling will be speckled with rich green flecks.
Truly a feast for the eyes.
Don't stop here, though. The flavors are what make this dish so divine. I seriously discourage using any sauce than the one this recipe calls for. Infusing the olive oil with garlic and roasted red pepper is easy and can be done while you are putting the ravioli together. Anything else will overpower the delicate balance of flavors.
Light a candle or two, turn down the lights, and open up a bottle of your favorite, special occasion wine.
Because - tonight - the special occasion is you.
Roasted Red Pepper Ravioli
Total Time: 5 Hours
(Prep: 30 Minutes / Cook: 30 Minutes / Freezing: 4 Hours)
- 1/2 lb. ground pork sausage
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 3 cloves garlic; 2 chopped and 1 whole, smashed
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 marinated roasted red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch ground black pepper
- 1 drop basil essential oil
- 2 toothpicks clove essential oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 32 wonton wrappers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- fresh basil leaves, julienned, for garnish
- fresh ground black pepper, for garnish
- fresh grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium in a small skillet. Brown the pork in the butter, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to break up the pork as it cooks. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
2. Place the pork, 2 cloves chopped garlic, ricotta, tomato paste, 1/2 of the roasted red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, nutmeg, and essential oils in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ground into a paste, but not so much that it becomes smooth. You want some small chunks to remain.
3. In a cup, whisk together the egg and water. Unwrap the wonton wrappers and cover with a damp washcloth so that they do not dry out while you are working. Separate and lay the wontons out on a work surface, four at a time. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the pork filling onto each wonton, offset from the center toward one corner, but not too close to the edges. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash along the two sides of the wonton wrapper that are closest to the meat. Carefully fold over the wrappers to make a triangle, enclosing the meat filling, and press to seal.
4. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so that they do not touch, then continue this process until all of the filling is used up. You should have about 32 raviolis when done. Place the baking sheets with the ravioli in the freezer and allow to freeze for a minimum of 4 hours. The wontons may dry out a little bit while they freeze, but they will re-hydrate again during cooking. Once they are frozen, place them into a large ziplock bag until ready to use.
5. When ready to make the ravioli: Preheat the oven to the lowest setting and prepare a sheet pan with a rack laid over it.
6. Heat olive oil in a small pan and add the smashed garlic clove. Swirl the pan frequently to keep the garlic from burning. When it is brown and fragrant, remove the garlic and discard, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon butter to the hot olive oil and lower the heat to low, swirling the pan until melted. Add 3/4 of the remaining half of the roasted red pepper (reserve the rest for garnish), cover and keep the oil warm.
7. Fill a medium pot half full of liberally salted water and heat over high until it is boiling. Using a slotted spoon, carefully drop the frozen ravioli into the boiling water, about 4 to 6 at a time. Don't crowd them or they will stick together! After 3 minutes, very carefully remove them to the prepared sheet pan. Place the ravioli in the warm oven, and continue with the rest of the ravioli, keeping them warm until you have finished cooking what you need.
8. Serve the ravioli on plates drizzled with a small amount of the infused olive oil mixture. Place them slightly overlapping, about 6 to 8 to a plate. Drizzle with more infused olive oil, top with a few of the remaining roasted red pepper pieces, and finish with a pinch of fresh basil. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a grind of black pepper. Serve immediately.
Working with wonton wrappers is similar to working with phyllo dough. They are thin, so they will dry out quickly. It is important to work quickly as well. Cover the open wonton package with a heavy washcloth that has been dampened with water, but not dripping wet. When I work with these wrappers, I work as if this were an assembly line. First, I lay out 4 wrappers, next I put on the meat, then the egg wash, then fold. Once you get the hang of it, things will move along pretty quickly. The key is to get the ravioli into the freezer before the wontons start to dry out. They will dry a little in the freezer, but that is ok. Once frozen, they will keep their shape much better.