What kind of meal do you consider to be “special?” Is it one that you ate growing up and can’t seem to forget? Or is it something fancy and out of the ordinary – a dish you wouldn’t cook if it wasn’t meant for a specific, important occasion? Or maybe both?
A few weeks ago I wanted to cook something special for dinner to pre-celebrate Christmas since I wouldn’t be around for the actual holiday. It was a lovely night filled with wine, our favorite cheeses, some leftover chocolate pie, presents, and partially homemade ravioli. (I almost wrote “semi-homemade” but realized that would create an uproar and make you all think I color coordinate my outfits to my kitchen. Not so!)
Why partially homemade? Well, I didn’t have time to make my own pasta dough (and, let’s face it, I’ve never done it before and want to experiment a bit first), and had to resort to using wonton wraps from the grocery store. The filling was homemade and we stuffed those babies ourselves, boiled them up, and topped them with this sauce. (Can I reiterate how wonderful this sauce is?)
This ravioli recipe is from The Farm to Table Cookbook and I found it on one of my favorite blogs to read: Dana Treat. The filling has textural components that are atypical for the ravioli you might be used to eating in restaurants; in addition to the multiple cheeses in the filling, there are also hazelnuts and fresh basil ribbons, both adding contrast and even an element of the unexpected. Each bite begins with the tenderness of the boiled won ton wrap followed by the creaminess of the cheese, the freshness of the basil and, last, the subtle crunch of the hazelnuts. Each of these nuances contributes to the gentle heartiness of the ravioli and, combined with the creamy, rich tomato sauce, give the dish warmth, depth, and an element that something special and worthy of celebration is definitely taking place.
This recipe is definitely worth a try for a special occasion, or even just for a regular lazy Sunday sort of meal.
Goat Cheese Ravioli
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
2 packages won ton wrappers
8 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup parmiggiano reggiano, grated
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, then diced
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 egg, beaten
Dust a sheet pan with flour and put it to the side.
In a medium bowl mix all the cheeses and the hazelnuts together. Then, add the basil to the cheese mixture and combine everything.
To fill the wonton wrappers you should get a little assembly line ready. Beat your egg in a small bowl and ready a pastry brush. Have the won ton wrappers ready to go and the filling nearby with a spoon for scooping. Take about a tablespoon of the filling and put it in the middle of one wonton wrapper. Brush the exposed wrapper with egg wash and cover it with another wrapper and flatten the edges, pushing out any air bubbles that may form. Then, you can use a sharp knife to make the ravioli sides neat and even (or you can just leave them the way they are, which is what I did), and place them onto the floured baking sheet you prepared before. Sprinkle them with a little flour.
Once you’re finished filling all of the won ton wrappers, place them into a pot of gently boiling water (make sure the water isn’t boiling too violently or it might break the ravioli) and allow them to cook for about 3 minutes, or until they float to the top of the pot. You can do them in small batches to keep them from sticking together and overcrowding the pot.
Serve warm and top with this sauce and some parmeggiano reggiano, and enjoy!