Choose Your Own (Kitchen) Adventure: Homemade Arugula Ravioli or Lasagna

Ever since my last (and first!) run-in with wonton-based homemade ravioli, I’ve wanted to prove that I had what it takes to make them without them falling apart. When L came for the weekend a little while back, I knew it was the perfect excuse – in fact, when he found out that I was planning to make these arugula ravioli for dinner on Sunday, he decided to extend his stay to make sure he was there for them.

As it turns out, they were really easy to make this time and the whole meal came together well! I think the trick to cooking with wonton wrappers, and perhaps with ravioli dough as well, is to limit the amount of time that you keep them in the boiling water. I overboiled them last time and the ravioli came completely undone in the water; this time, I was more vigilant, and they stayed intact.

In terms of taste, these ravioli are knock outs. The arugula gives a really nice, spicy bite, and the colors are definitely vibrant and appealing. I’d say that wonton wrapper ravioli don’t look as pretty as store-bought or restaurant-made ravioli do, but once you cover them in a zesty tomato sauce and add a little parmesan cheese garnish, that’s not too much of an issue. Pair this with a side salad or as a bed for some grilled chicken and you have yourself a stellar meal, though L and I certainly liked it just fine all by itself.

Another idea is to turn this meal into personal lasagnas. I had some leftover filling and sauce, but didn’t feel like laboring over the ravioli assembly. I simply dropped some wrappers into boiling water to cook them, and then layered them in a ramekin with the filling, sauce, and cheese. Pop them in the oven if the filling wasn’t just made and it needs a little rewarming, and you have yourself an even less labor-intensive meal that still captures the same amazing flavors as the ravioli. In fact, if I’m being perfectly honest, I liked it even better this way! If I had thought to take pictures of this version of the recipe I probably wouldn’t even mention the traditional ravioli but, alas, hindsight certainly is 20/20.

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Arugula Ravioli, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 4-5 servings

The Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces arugula, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons (whole grain, homemade) breadcrumbs
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, yolk and white separated
20 wonton wrappers
1 – 1 ½ cups marinara sauce1

The Method
Set a large pot of water to boil over high heat, covered. Place the oil in a separate, large sauté pan over medium heat, and add the shallots and garlic once heated; sauté 7-10 minutes, or until the shallots have become translucent but not brown. Stir in the arugula until it has cooked down and the water has mostly evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Mix in the breadcrumbs and cheese, season with pepper, and stir in the egg yolk.

Meanwhile, set your marinara sauce on to start warming over low heat. If the large pot of water is boiling, reduce the heat to a steady simmer.

Begin assembling the ravioli: lay out all of the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and coat with the egg white. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling to the center of each wonton, then fold them diagonally in half to create a filled triangle. Press firmly along the edges to seal well.2 Add the ravioli to the large pot of water, working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, and cook for just 2 minutes (when the ravioli rise to the surface, they’re done). Top the ravioli with the sauce and garnish, optionally, with extra parmesan before serving.

1I used leftover sauce from the margherita pizza I had made earlier in the weekend.
2Alternatively, you could double the amount of wontons needed (or cut the serving size in half, though that might look a little sad on someone’s plate), and instead of folding the wrappers over, simply top them with a second wrapper (also brushed with egg whites) to create a square ravioli. I’ve never done this before, but think they might wind up looking a little prettier.

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