RECIPE BY LEANDRA ROUSE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAM EMMONS
As the temperatures drop, dinner parties move inside. What better way to entertain your guests than with an interactive menu? Try a DIY Ravioli Party as a way to make both the preparation and the eating the main event! As the host, you can provide the pasta, a filling, and sauce to get the party started. Ask your guests to bring their favorite filling, sauce, or side. The result is a taste-as-you-go feast that everyone gets to participate in.
In this recipe we feature our favorite shortcut ravioli shortcut: the wonton wrapper. It is a quick way to feed a crowd and an easy technique for your guests to try. (Of course, you can always tackle pasta from scratch.) Frozen wonton wrappers can be found in the Asian freezer section of most grocery stores. Once defrosted they make a foolproof noodle casing for your favorite ravioli filling.
This recipe includes an unconventional filling—herbed pine nut “cheese”. It is unique, flavorful, and dairy free. However the possibilities are endless. Here are a few more healthy ravioli fillings:
Chicken and mushroom
Shiitake mushroom, green onion (spring onion), and ricotta
Spinach and three cheese
Roasted cauliflower and potato
Squash and caramelized onions
Potato and chorizo
Butternut squash and sage
As for the sauce, our end-of-season tomato sauce recipe is a classic base—simple and bright.
Other ideas are carrot top pesto, walnut oil with shaved truffle, or a roasted garlic cream sauce.
To prepare for the party, make the filling in advance. Defrost the wonton wrappers and set up a ravioli making station on a large central surface—like a kitchen island or dining room table.
Sprinkle the workstation with flour and set out small bowls with filling, pasta sauce, and finger bowls with water. Damp kitchen towels should be placed over the wonton wrappers in between use so they don’t dry out. And a parchment-lined baking sheet prepared in advance will help guests to refrigerate ravioli while queuing up to be cooked.
Make serving plates and utensils easily available so guests can eat while they work. Heat a large stock pot of water on the stove so it is ready to simmer ravioli as they are constructed. Ravioli cooks quickly, so encourage guests to try small batches of different combinations. Each round can be served to the group and guests can taste, compare notes, and enjoy the unique flavors.
Consider making a batch of ravioli ahead of time so you may quickly feed your guests and showcase the finished product as an example.
For the pine nut cheese filling:
1 cup pine nuts, soaked
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
2 tablespoon chives, minced
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
12 to 16 oz (350g – 450g) package of frozen wonton wrappers, approximately 8 sheets per guest
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups (470ml) of prepared homemade tomato pasta sauce or your favorite packaged option
Up to 24 hours before the party, prepare the pine nut filling. Tomato sauce can be made far in advance and frozen until the day of.
To make the filling, soak the pine nuts in water for 6 to 8 hours and drain away the excess water. Then add the soaked pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and zest, chives, and shallots to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until just combined. With the blender still running, slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed during the blending process. The filling can be slightly chunky to very smooth, depending on your personal preference. Add small amounts of warm water to the mixture as needed to achieve your desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer into a small container and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble ravioli, lay eight wonton wrappers on the prepared work surface described above. Whisk together the two eggs in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, coat each wrapper with the egg wash. Then place one tablespoon of filling in the center of four ravioli. To seal, place the additional wonton wrappers on top to cover the filling. Pick up the ravioli and press the edges together with wet fingers. Place the raviolis upside down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. A damp towel should be draped over them if not cooking immediately to prevent them drying out.
To cook the ravioli, bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and drop the first batch of raviolis in. Stir gently to prevent the ravioli from sticking to each other. Cook in the gentle simmer for two to three minutes or until the ravioli float to the top or puff up.
Remove the cooked ravioli from the water with a slotted spoon and serve directly onto your guests’ plate. Two to four is a good serving size to start with. Guests can select their own sauce, toppings, and sides as they like. Good times!
Makes 36 ravioli or 8 servings.
NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING):
Calories 320 KCal
Protein 11 g
Total fat 15 g
Saturated fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 50 mg
Carbs 38 g
Fiber 2 g
Total sugars 6 g
Added sugars 2 g
Sodium 730 mg
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