Monday, March 7, 2011

New Holiday Traditions

Originally posted 12/10/10

Good morning everybody!  So I joined Twitter yesterday…..I am still a little confused by the whole thing, but I think I will get the hang of it.  I was pretty excited that I had 10 followers after the first ten minutes….but then I realized that 6 of them were porn stars.  I wasn’t as excited about that, but I guess they eat BBQ sauce like the rest of us.  Actually, I don’t want to think about what they might do with BBQ sauce.  Ugh-Anyhoo-if you follow me…prepare for me to tweet the bajeesus out of you.  (I won’t-I don’t want to be annoying.)
Back to the task at hand…..Today’s post is about ravioli….homemade ravioli.  Actually, I might not be able to call mine “ravioli” due to the shape of it.  It might be more of a “mezza luna”….and yes, I learn all of my Italian from Olive Garden commercials.  I can’t keep all of their stuffed pastas straight.  I’m just going to go ahead and call mine raviolis.  Purists might disagree, but they don’t have to eat it.  So there.
I have always wanted to be the family that had some great Christmas tradition of spending the whole day making tamales, or egg rolls, or RAVIOLI!!  Our family’s only Christmas tradition was the yearly Christmas Eve Pizza.  We are a classy folk….This year, I’m changing the whole game up on them.  No more Christmas pizza!  I want to spend the whole day bonding, laughing, talking, and stuffing ravioli!  I’m not going to get crazy up in here and make my own pasta.  I use wonton wrappers, and I’m not apologizing for it!;)  So there again! 
Today I am going to show you how to make two different flavors of ravioli.  I promise it is easy.  You know I wouldn’t do it if it was hard.  And, I am using everyday ingredients.  I won’t make your get truffles only found in the south of France.  Don’t you want to have a new Christmas family tradition too?
Above are the first ingredients I used for my Chicken Caprese Ravioli.  I used ricotta, fresh mozzarella, shredded parmesan, diced tomatoes, minced garlic and fresh basil.
I cut the tomatoes in half and squeezed out the majority of the wet guts and the seeds.  I diced them and then let them sit on paper towels for a few minutes.  I didn’t want the tomatoes to make the filling too watery.  Also, I tore the basil as opposed to cutting it because that is what the fancy chefs on TV do, and I am a sucker for anything on TV.  Actually, I think this is supposed to keep the basil from bruising…
I also used grilled chicken that I happened to have left over.  You can totally use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store too.
I mixed all of the ingredients together and salted and peppered it well.  Ta-da, filling done.

Onto my second flavor…..
For my Mushroom and Fontina Ravioli I used chopped mushrooms (which I chopped ever more), butter, minced garlic, white wine, heavy cream, and fontina cheese.  You can use any cheese you want here, but I love the creaminess of fontina.  And yes, I have the cheese in a wine glass.  I would totally drink cheese from a wine glass if possible.
I start by sautéing the mushrooms and garlic in butter.  A lot of it.  Mmmmmm-butter.  After about 5 minutes, when the mushrooms are soft and starting to brown, I salt and pepper them.  I add the wine and the cream and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.  You will not believe how good this makes your house smell.
Once the mushrooms have cooled a bit, I add the cheese.  Pop it in the fridge for a bit because it is easier to handle when not hell-fire hot.  Ta-da, second filling done.

Time to stuff!  Recruit help-this will take you waaaay to long to do yourself, and you will end up hating everybody in the room for not helping.  I use wonton skins.  These are readily available at any grocery store.  Most of the time they are in the produce section.  Yes, I am fully aware that wontons are NOT pasta.  But remember-I am the girl that gets her Italian information from the Olive Garden;)  Actually, I just think that making fresh pasta would be way too time consuming, and I don’t have the time or the inclination to do it.  So wontons it is!

Wonton skins tend to dry out quickly.  When they get dry, they crack and break.  I take only a small stack out of the fridge at a time, and I keep them under a wet towel.
I use maybe only a teaspoon of filling.  You will want to overstuff-but fight that urge!  I use water to seal the edges.  In fact, that is what I am doing above….
Seal these well!  The water will act as glue.  I lay mine out on a greased cookie sheet while they wait to get boiled.  If they won’t be getting boiled for a while, cover them with a wet towel.

I cook mine in simmering water for a couple of minutes.  You will know when they are done because they will float to the top.  Now be prepared-this recipe makes a ton!  I created this recipe for a very large group, like a Christmas party-ish group. 
Above is my Chicken Caprese Ravioli.  I serve it with Alfredo sauce, but a marinara sauce would be good too.
I serve the Mushroom and Fontina Ravioli with butter, parm and lots of fresh cracked black pepper.  So, so good!

I hope you try these recipes.  Like I said, they are easy!  I wouldn’t be cooking them if they weren’t.  I would just go to the Olive Garden;)

Chicken Caprese Ravioli
6 ounces grilled chicken, diced
15 ounces Ricotta (part-skim)
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
½ cup tomatoes, diced
½ cup basil, torn
Wonton skins

Combine all ingredients except for wonton skins.  Place one teaspoon filling in each wonton skin.  Moisten edges with water and press to seal.  Cook in simmering water for about 3 minutes, or until ravioli floats to the top. Drain well.

Mushroom and Fontina Ravioli
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
16 ounces mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup fontina, shredded

Sauté mushrooms and garlic in butter until mushrooms are softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add wine and cream and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and let cool.
Stir fontina into cooled mixture.  Place one teaspoon filling in each wonton skin.  Moisten edges with water and press to seal.  Cook in simmering water for about 3 minutes, or until ravioli floats to the top. Drain well.

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