The funny thing about trying to cook things from scratch is that you start to understand why “convenience foods” are just that – they’re convenient. There are certain things that just take so much longer when you try to make them by hand, and then it comes down to a desire to eat things you made yourself, or trying to omit/control certain ingredients, etc. Having two small kiddos and being in a household where both parents work, it really is tough to make a ton of stuff from scratch. I need a housespouse.
But, last weekend, I decided to make lasagna. And, since it was on sale, I purchased the MEGA container of ricotta. Silly me. Then again, at the time, I was thinking that I’d use the remainder to make cannoli…oh wait – I had some in my cart already. *facepalm*
So, confronted with ALL of that ricotta, I did what any other ambitious person might do: I decided to make my own ravioli. Now, I could have decided to make the pasta from scratch, too, but BABY STEPS, PEOPLE. BABY STEPS. Instead of the fresh pasta, I reached into the tofu area of the produce section and pulled out a neat package of Nasoya Wonton Wraps (wonton skins). These things have seemingly unlimited potential: ravioli, wontons, rangoons…lots of options for pockety things that taste good.
The next thing I had to consider was how on earth to manage this. After all, you can either use the approximately 2″x2″ skins to make VERY LARGE ravioli, or you can fold them to make triangles or rectangles. Not being sure of the best course of action, I did all three. I also wasn’t sure how best to seal these suckers up, and I have to say that I was really pleased to see how many of them survived. Naturally, being of the geekish sort, as I was putting them together, I told dh I wasn’t sure how many might survive the carbon freezing process…(His response: “Get out of my head”).
My first attempt at this turned up a total of 16 rectangles, 16 triangles, and 8 large square ravioli. I also had a small amount of leftover cheese mixture (no more than 2-3oz). If you can get your hands on some more wonton skins easily enough, this is a good time to apply them. Otherwise, you can save this mixture to stuff some shells with. Assume that, like anything else, you wouldn’t want to keep it more than a couple of days in the fridge.
This recipe seems more complicated than it really is; all the lettering is just my way of trying to help explain the slight variation that comes from making them in one shape versus another. The majority of the prep time in this, as with stuffed grape leaves (another favorite of mine), is in the lather-rinse-repeat action. If you make only the square raviolis, your prep time will be shorter.
The verdict on this was highly positive. Everybody went for second helpings, and the lighter nature of the wonton skins versus the standard pasta didn’t leave us with the usual Titanic-at-the-bottom-of-your-stomach feeling that can often come from additional helpings of pasta. We’re definitely making these again (perhaps adding in variations with herbed cheese, lobster meat or ground turkey).
Lastly, I made a lot. If you make the recipe as-is, you will have a ton of ravioli on your hands. It’s easily enough for 4-5 people. If you have a smaller crowd and/or don’t want to have leftovers, just halve the recipe and assume your prep time will be cut in half, as well.
Prep Time: 45-90 mins, depending upon shape
Cooking Time: 5 mins, once the water is boiling
15 or 16 oz part-skim ricotta cheese (whatever size you can get that’s closest)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pkg Nasoya wonton wraps (~48 individual skins)
Make it Happen
1. In a medium bowl, stir to combine the cheeses.
2. Place water in a small bowl (such as a finger bowl) and set to the side.
3. Tear off several sheets of waxed paper and place them to the side.
4. Put a wonton skin on a plate or other clean, dry, flat surface.
a) For triangles or rectangles, put 1/2 Tb of the cheese mixture in the center of the skin.
a1) Dab a finger in the water and lightly trace the water along the edges of the wonton skin.
a2) Fold the wonton skin over in the desired direction, then press lightly to seal the ravioli and remove as much air as possible.
b) For large square ravioli, put 1 Tb of the cheese mixture in the center of the skin.
b1) Dab a finger in the water and lightly trace the water along the edges of the wonton skin.
b2) Place another wonton skin on top, then press lightly around the cheese to seal the ravioli and remove as much air as possible.
5. Using a small fork (I used a dessert/salad fork), press down on the sealed edges to crimp and tighten the seal on the ravioli, taking care not to puncture the wonton skin. When you have crimped all of the edges, flip the ravioli over and repeat the process on the other side. (Then repeat the appropriate steps for 4a/b, as you desire, until you’ve made all of the raviolis you have skins for. If making triangles or rectangles, you should be able to make 48 small raviolis. If making large raviolis, you should be able to make 24 large raviolis instead. You can also make any combination thereof, as you choose.)
6. Place the raviolis on a plate, on waxed paper. Use single sheets of waxed paper in between layers of ravioli to keep them from sticking together before cooking. If you want to cook them later, cover the plate with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. (I made mine a few hours ahead of cooking, and that worked fine. I would guess they could probably keep overnight, too, if necessary, but I wouldn’t prepare them more than one night in advance.)
7. To cook, add as many as will reasonably fit in a large pot of boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes.
8. Remove raviolis from the pot with a slotted spoon and toss lightly with a small amount of olive oil, to prevent sticking. Serve with your preferred sauce.