Weekly Winner: Ravioli Ridiculousness — Because you can’t be good all the time!

ravioli casseroleBaked pasta is good.  Stuffed pasta that is baked is better.  Stuffed pasta which is layered in a casserole with sausage is …. the BEST.  EVER.

Mushroom Ravioli and Sausage Casserole is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a light dish.  However it isn’t as over-the-top as you’d think.  It really works and actually comes together as a somewhat presentable dish.  And while it would be perfectly acceptable to serve this dish at a casual dinner party with friends, my preferred situation for it is curled up on the couch in my jammies.  This big dish of deliciousness comes from Food Network Magazine.

Mushroom Ravioli and Sausage Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

10 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced

Freshly ground pepper

6 ounces mild Italian sausage, casings removed

3 cloves garlic (2 thinly sliced, 1 grated)

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, chopped [I used oregano]

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 10-ounce packages refrigerated mushroom ravioli

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the vegetables are beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and marjoram (or oregano) and cook until softened, 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and 1/4 cup water, bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli in the boiling water as the label directs. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain. Add the ravioli and the reserved cooking water to the sauce; stir to coat. Transfer half of the ravioli and sauce to a 9-by-13-inch broiler-proof baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Top with the remaining ravioli, sauce and mozzarella.
  3. Meanwhile, microwave the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the grated garlic and breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the baked ravioli and broil until browned on top, about 2 minutes. Top with the parsley.

Weekly Winner: Pumpkin Pockets of Perfection

IMG_1576 As a rule, I do not make pasta. There are way too many perfectly wonderful, hand-crafted pastas out there for me to bother. I think it all goes back to my panic towards pastry or really dough of any kind. I leave that to the hubby. He’s good at it, so why should I struggle with it?? Also, there are loads of good store-bought versions of pie crusts and biscuits and puff pastry so I see no need to stress myself out doing it myself. My perfectionist tendencies only carry so far. I know when to give in — and with pasta, I almost always give in.

So what was I doing making homemade pumpkin ravioli last night? Well, first of all I had the evening to myself. I had no clients to cook for and nothing to prep nor did I have any leftovers to reheat. The entire evening and a totally clean kitchen lay ahead of me. What to do? What to do?

I saved this recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter back before Thanksgiving. I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman and I wanted to give it a try. Mainly because it promised fabulously tasty ravioli without making pasta dough. The trick? Wonton Wrappers! Seriously, where have these been all my life? They are perfect squares just waiting to be filled with some sort of wonderful-ness and the options are endless! Best part? They really stay together if sealed properly. I did not have one single blow out and I didn’t even bother to trim them with a cutter.

I have a feeling we’ll be having a lot more ravioli dishes around here.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter
Makes 18 ravioli

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter
2 clove garlic, minced
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 stick butter
36 whole wonton wrappers
1 whole egg, beaten
black pepper to taste
fresh Parmesan
fresh sage, sliced very thin

Procedure:
Melt 2 Tbsp butter with the garlic in a skillet over medium heat and cook for a couple of minutes to release the garlic flavor. Add the pumpkin puree, salt and chili powder. Stir and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally, until golden. Remove from heat and pour the pine nuts onto a small plate.

In the same small skillet, brown the butter by melting it over medium-high heat, then letting it cook and bubble for an additional minute or so until the foam is golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assemble the ravioli: Lay out 18 wonton wrappers and put 1/2 tsp of the pumpkin mixture in the center. Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp water. Using your finger, smear the egg mixture all over the surface of the wrappers surrounding the pumpkin. Place a clean wrapper on top, matching up the edges. Press the edges together and use your fingers to press out any air pockets that form. Repeat with the res of the wrappers.

This is where if you want to, you can cut them with a circular or square cutter or ravioli trimmer.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the ravioli three at a time into the water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spatula and put the ravioli on a plate. Continue cooking the ravioli in batches of threes.

To serve: spoon a little browned butter on each plate. Place desired amount of ravioli on each plate, then spoon a little more browned butter over the top. Sprinkle on the pine nuts, and a little black pepper and then the shaved parmesan. Finally, top with slivered sage and serve.

 

Weekly Winner: Pretty Easy Peasy

Ravioli Alfredo with PeasThis week’s entry is so easy, it barely qualifies as cooking.  Besides being so dang easy… it is also a very pretty dish.  Sometimes it is the simplest, easiest things that actually taste the best.  Case in point, this week’s Weekly Winner.  It is Ravioli Alfredo with Peas and it comes from Food Network Magazine.

The most important thing I can say about this recipe is make sure you find fresh mushroom ravioli.  I found some at the Green City Market, my local farmer’s market and it was remarkable.  With such few ingredients, it is vital that each is really good quality.

It may seem like cheating, but it is wonderfully delicious cheating.  Make this and enjoy all the extra time you’ll have!

Ravioli Alfredo with Peas

Serves 4 (or just me and my husband!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 9-oz packages of mushroom ravioli
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Procedure:

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the ravioli and cook as the label directs.  Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the ravioli.

Combine the butter, cream and peas in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook 1 minute.  Add the ravioli, cheese, nutmeg and a splash of the reserved cooking water to the skillet and toss.  Add more cooking water to think the sauce, if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide among bowls and top with the parsley.

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