Homemade ravioli is easy to make with a little Asian inspiration.
If you want to get your kids more involved in dinner preparation, homemade ravioli is a perfect project; one that will fill your freezer with quick meals for another day. Besides the fact that ravioli are fun to fill and seal, the repetitiveness has an appeal to young children that few grown-ups share. There’s no heat involved, and no need for knives, so after you’ve mixed up your fillings (another great opportunity to experiment without wasting more expensive ingredients) you can set them up at the table to turn out ravioli while you do something else. (If they’re destined for the freezer, have kids set their little packages on a cookie sheet to freeze, then transfer to freezer bags for up to six months.)
The good news is, you don’t have to make your own fresh pasta to produce your own ravioli. Wonton wrappers are made with flour, egg and water – the same ingredients as pasta – and come pre-rolled and cut into perfectly sized squares to fill, seal and cook or stash in the freezer. Look for them in the deli section (alongside fresh Asian noodles) or in the freezer section of your supermarket, or pick some up at any Asian grocery store.
When it comes to fillings, they can be anything you like: cooked vegetables, meat, cheese – let the kids experiment, and treat it as a good use of leftovers. Bits of roasted chicken, beef, pork and vegetables can be finely chopped and used as fillings. Once cooked, ravioli can be topped with tomato sauce, pesto or browned butter, or eaten straight up with a drizzle of canola or olive oil and a pinch of salt. We enlisted Maggie, 6, and Zoe, 4, to make ravioli; both filled and sealed their pasta like pros, turning out extra to bring home to their dad for dinner.
ASSEMBLE THE RAVIOLI
1 pkg. wonton wrappers, thawed
2–3 cups (500–750 mL) fillings
Sauce: tomato sauce, pesto, browned butter or oil, alfredo sauce
- Fill a small dish with water.
- Take one or two wonton wrappers out at a time, keeping the rest in the package or covered with a tea towel so that they don’t dry out. Lay them on a clean, dry surface and place a spoonful of filling onto the middle of each wrapper.
- Dip your finger into the water and use it to moisten two adjoining edges. Fold the wonton over to form a triangle, pressing out any air bubbles (so that they don’t turn into floatation devices in the pot of boiling water), and press to seal.
- Repeat with the remaining wontons and filling. If you want to turn your ravioli into tortellini, moisten the two corners at the base of the triangle, bring them together and pinch them to seal.
EAT RIGHT AWAY:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop in as many as you want to cook, making sure not to crowd the pot, and boil for five to six minutes, until they float to the surface. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and drain them well. Top with any sauce you like.
OR FREEZE FOR LATER:
Arrange uncooked ravioli in a single layer on a baking sheet or tuck them into ice cube trays, then freeze. Then transfer them to freezer bags to store for up to six months. Boil from frozen.
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Published May 2010