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Duelling Raviolis

November 23, 2009

Independently of Margaret, I decided a couple weeks ago to make pumpkin-spinach ravioli. My story came out quite a bit differently…

Ravioli freeze well, so I made them several days before the dinner party. I roasted pumpkin, sautéed a bunch of spinach and garlic, then mixed it all together with some breadcrumbs to help them bind. Here came my first mistake: I prepared the pasta dough at around 11 PM on a Friday night, when I knew I was going to a friend’s improv show at midnight. The dough came together beautifully in the food processor (tradition is tradition, Margaret, but I’d already kneaded plenty of dough that night for the rolls I’d pre-prepared and frozen earlier). I set it out to rest and went to the show, coming back a little after 1 AM. I was going to roll the ravioli before I slept, or bust.

Margaret is right: rolling out dough is hard! I rolled and rolled til my arms hurt, then gently tugged at the sheets before laying them out on floured sheet pans. They already looked good enough to eat after I dropped teaspoons of filling at regular intervals on the dough:

I rolled another sheet and lay it carefully over the filling, but try as I might I couldn’t get all the air bubbles out of my dough. I gave up, cut the just-okay raviolis out, and from then on (not pictured) made them pierogi-style, cutting out circles and making half-moon raviolis.

And this is where I made my second mistake: I’d been cooking all day and was running out of dishes. All I had for storing the raviolis before freezing them was a 9 x 9 baking pan. I floured each layer before adding more newly-filled ravioli, but at 3 AM when I finished…did you know that pasta dough sticks to pasta dough? I’d forgotten this in my frenzy. I had a mass of stuck-together ravioli.

What could I do? I gingerly plucked out about 35 of them and placed them on a baking sheet to freeze separately before being stored together in a plastic bag. The rest I covered in a spinach cream sauce, baked, and served as lasagna to friends who claimed they couldn’t tell the difference. It was tasty, but just not quite the same to my tastebuds.

The ravioli I was able to save were boiled then panfried in sage butter.  Delicious, but I’d do some things differently next time. For one, I won’t be doing anymore midnight cooking. You win this round, Margaret!

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