Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ricotta, Spinach and Pea Ravioli

I used to wash dishes at a posh 'pre-theatre' restaurant in Niagara on The Lake, Ontario. One of the perks of scrubbing out food-encrusted pans for 6 bucks an hour was that, when it came time for dinner break, they fed you like royalty. Mussels, salmon, shrimp, steak, nothing was off-limits with one key exception: the homemade ravioli. They used to make these huge ricotta-stuffed ravioli and serve two or three of them for an exorbitant price and apparently, out of everything else, they were too precious to waste on the lowly dishwashing peons.

So when Jenn told me she wanted to make her own ravioli... on a weekday at that.. I was pretty skeptical. Making pasta at home is one of those things, along with making ice cream and brewing your own beer, that's always seemed to take a ridiculous amount of time and energy. As we are short on time, we skipped the pasta making altogether and used wonton wrappers! It's a surprisingly workable substitute, as the little wrappers come in frozen packages and are ready to use right out of the box, but you can still make your own filling. It takes a bit of time to get used to the process and make sure not to overfill each ravioli but as a whole it works quite well. We were thinking about making a cheese sauce to coat the ravioli with but finally opted for a pea and butter combination instead because the ricotta filling was already so rich and creamy.




1 300g package of ricotta
3 handfuls of baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of chopped italian flat leaf parsley
20-30 wonton wrappers
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little of olive oil in a pan and add the crushed garlic. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, lemon juice and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Add spinach to the ricotta mix to complete the filling.

Lay out the wonton wrappers on a flat surface one or two at a time and brush the sides with a small amount of egg (don't over do it or the wrappers will become soggy). Add about 1-2 teaspoons of filling inside each wrapper. Take the four corners and bunch them into little parcels, making sure that the filling doesn't spill out. Alternately, you can fold them into single triangles. Add to boiling water for 30 seconds (they will float to the top when ready).

For the sauce, melt the better in a non stick pan and thaw out the peas. Add the chopped parsley and pour over the ravioli.

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