Sept 6 Cheese and Arugula Ravioli with Tomato Sauce
I was lucky enough to be invited to do tomatoes with the family of one of my son's classmates last Friday and I am now the proud owner of 42 large jars of Nona's beautiful tomato sauce (and a blister from hours of scraping the extractor thingy on the food mill). It's a beautiful, unadulterated sauce - nothing but the best, ripe plum tomatoes, lovingly skinned, pureed and boiled with nothing other than a few big pieces of basil thrown into the huge vat at the very end for good measure.
While the other 41 jars are sitting in the back of my truck, upside down in boxes, insulated with one of Nona's old quilted bed covers, I have had one lone jar sitting on my counter all weekend, waiting to be turned into something delicious. I had every intention of making my own pasta for ravioli but I couldn't find my ravioli mold anywhere and seeing that it is was Labour Day Monday, my chances of running out and getting a new one were pretty slim. If I needed some bok choy or a bamboo steamer, I would be in luck but a ravioli was not going to happen. I might not need bok choy, but won ton wrappers make a great ravioli wrapper so the fact that all of our asian markets are open 365 days a year was working for me.
Fresh sheep ricotta from St Lawrence market and arugula provided a subtle enough filling to allow the simple tomato sauce shine.
An apology in advance: The Toronto Film Festival starts this Thursday and I am slated to work right through until mid week the next week so I will apologize now for whatever I manage to throw together for my next post or two. I promise to make it up to you in some good festival stories.
Cheese Ravioli with Arugula and Tomato Sauce
this makes a ton of filling so feel free to cut it in half for a batch just big enough for dinner but I wanted to freeze a bunch of them
500 g sheep milk ricotta (about 2 cups)
about 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 egg yolks
1 or 2 tbls olive oil
1 bunch arugula, well washed and chopped up
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
about 5 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
won ton wrappers (I used two 400g packs for about 60 ravioli)
about 1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1litre of tomato puree (about 4 cups)
1 small bunch basil
Add the arugula and stir it around for about 30 seconds until it starts to wilt and take the pan off the heat. Put that mixture into a bowl and let it cool down to room temp before adding it in to the cheeses in a large bowl. After you give it a good stir, taste and add salt and pepper if needed and then add in the two yolks, mix well and set aside.
You can do the sauce earlier in the day or even the day before but if you leave it to the last minute, do it now and let the sauce cook while you assemble the ravioli.
Heat a pot over med heat with about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onion softens. Add in the tomato puree and let it come to a light simmer, turn down the heat so that it is just softly simmering away while you put the ravioli together. You will have to taste for salt and adjust to your taste - it will depend greatly on the tomatoes you use. I used my homemade puree which contained no salt at all so I had to add more than I would if I had use canned tomatoes or jarred puree.
Assemble the ravioli:
Have a little bowl of water handy.
lay one wonton wrapper on the cutting board and using a tsp measure, scoop out a heaping tsp of cheese mixture and place it in the centre of the wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and wet all around the edges. Place a second wrapper on top and gently press down so that all the edges meet up and go around with a fork, pressing the tines in to seal the edges.
As you make them put them on a cookie tray lined with parchment and keep them covered with a tea towel until you are done all of them.
To cook them, bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil. You don't want a vigourous boil or the ravioli might burst open and make a mess so keep the water just simmering lightly. Cook a few at a time so they aren't crowded - my pot lets me do about 8-10 at time. Cook them for between 4 to 5 minutes, until they are all floating on top of the water and then remove with a big slotted spoon and place them in each, individual bowl.
At this point, turn the heat off under the sauce and throw the bunch of basil into the sauce and just let it sit for a few minutes while you finish cooking the pasta.
After all the pasta is cooked and in everyone's shallow bowl, ladle some sauce over each and serve. You can also put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the place and then place the ravioli on top of the sauce too - it's up to you.