Wait! Before you leave in disgust thinking that there is no way you are going to make your own ravioli let me tell you there’s a HUGE shortcut in here and you don’t have to make your own pasta and it takes only about an hour of prep to make these and that they last forever in the freezer and then take only 5 minutes to cook and that they are going to taste better than any ravioli you’ve ever bought at any gourmet grocery store ever!!!!
Are you still here? Good. Listen, have you ever seen these “wonton wrappers” in the grocery store? Well they are a perfect substitute for the pasta in ravioli. It’s ready made, ready cut, and just… well… ready for you to create.
This recipe is also something of a “method” recipe. You can stuff ravioli with anything that you want, and that’s the beauty of it. Not only can you use it to come up with fancy ways of re-purposing leftovers, you can use it as a way to come up with exactly the flavors you want it to have. Famed celebrity chef Mario Batali has some amazing ravioli on the menu of his NYC restaurant Babbo including a beef cheek ravioli with crushed squab liver and black truffles. Seriously. I’ve had it and it’s really quite good.
But, for making at home I wanted to go with something a bit more ordinary without being, well, ordinary. I thought back over the things I’ve eaten recently that I liked and I realized that the lamb with tomato and orzo was really standing out to me so I started to imagine how to turn it into a ravioli. First, I needed to grind up the lamb so it wouldn’t be in big chunks. Next, I’d need to cook it before stuffing it and cook down the tomato sauce so it was more of a paste. Easy-peasy.
In the end I let the lamb, rosemary, and tomato sauce simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes while I cleaned up the breakfast dishes. Then, I let it cool while I folded a load of laundry. Then I mixed in the feta, stuffed them, put them in the freezer and forgot about them. At dinner time I boiled some water and in the time it took me to make the accompanying salad the ravioli were cooked and ready. All they needed was a drizzle of melted butter and they were perfection. Actually, I think the best description was Adam’s commentary after he was all finished with the meal. He gazed at the now empty serving bowl and said, “I could eat 20 more of those”. For me, there is no higher praise.
I should probably mention here how I get them cooked without falling apart (the ravioli, not me) since that used to be a problem. I take a four pronged approach. First, I use an egg wash to seal the edges. Second, I freeze them even if I’m planning to cook them the same day; I find it gives them a solidity they need. Third, I use a flat buffet style pan to cook them in. The roiling boiling water in a typical pot I find can be too violent and cause them to crash into each other and break apart. Fourth, I don’t put too many in the pan at once. Again, you don’t want them crashing into each other and the fewer there are in the pan the less likely it is that it will happen.
Homemade Lamb and Feta Ravioli
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion
- 3/4 – 1 lb lamb
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup basic tomato sauce
- 8 oz feta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 package won ton wraps (you will need approximately 50 wraps)
- In the work bowl of a food processor grind up the lamb into tiny pieces.
- In a frying pan heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook down slowly until onions are translucent.
- Add the lamb to the frying pan and stir while browning the meat.
- Add the rosemary and sauce to the frying pan. Simmer over medium/low heat for 15-20 minutes or until all the excess liquid has evaporated out. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl beat the egg with a tablespoon of water.
- Lay out a won ton wrappers on the counter and using your finger dipped in egg wash coat the outer edge of the won ton wrapper with egg wash.
- Put no more than 2 teaspoons of filling into the center of the won ton wrapper.
- Carefully fold the won ton wrapper in half and, gently pushing the air out of the center, connect the edges into a triangle shape.
- Using your finger dipped in egg wash trace the outside of the triangle. Fold over the three corners and using a fork gently crimp the edge down all around the won ton wrapper.
- Place the ravioli on a half-sheet pan lined with a silpat sheet.
- When your pan is full place it into the freezer and leave there for 6-8 hours.
- After the time has elapsed you can either transfer the ravioli to a freezer bag to keep, or you can remove them from the freezer to cook.
- In a shallow pan like a buffet pan or a saute pan boil some water.
- When the water reaches a boil add a large pinch of salt. Then gently place the ravioli in the pan. Make sure not to over crowd the pan.
- Boil them for approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove the ravioli from the pan and toss with some melted butter.
Cooking time (duration): 5
Number of servings (yield): 6
Meal type: dinner
Culinary tradition: Italian