Ravioli, fried or boiled are great any day

National Ravioli Day is here and cooking the stuffed pasta treat can be tricky unless you're careful. Take the pressure off and fry them.

Ravioli can be a misunderstood pasta. Is it for everyday or is it a traditional holiday dish?

Coming from an Italian family, I can honestly say that we knew it was a big day of some sort when ravioli was on the menu. It could have been a dinner for family who we didn't see often or a holiday.

That is no longer the case and neither is the traditional method of cooking ravioli.

I've heard some people tell me that they can't seem to cook them in boiling water without them tearing.

Here are some hints:

  • Add salt to the water before it boils. Don't be stingy about it either. Dump up one tablespoon for each gallon of water you are boiling. (Those on limited sodium diets should use as much as they are allowed).
  • Use a thick, molded plastic slotted spoon. It is gentle on the pasta when you stir and as you try to remove the pieces from the pot, and allows excess water to drain.
  • Don't crowd the ravioli during the cooking process. It will mean you'll use a much larger pot or stage the cooking process
  • Do not overcook. Tearing is more apt to happen when you do.
  • Don't treat ravioli as if it were an unstuffed pasta variety that you dump into a colander, water and all, if you are concerned about tearing

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If you want to avoid the issue altogether, how about frying them?

While it is heresy to some, it is tradition to others. It gets you an appetizer or side dish when serving a meat main course. Paula Deen, a chef who knows a thing or two about fried food suggests this recipe.

Fried Ravioli, Paula Deen style

Oil, for frying ravioli
1 (9-ounce) package frozen 4-cheese ravioli
2 cups ground pecans
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2-inch in a skillet or Dutch oven and heat oil to 360 F. Bring water to a boil over high heat and cook ravioli for 2 minutes. Place cooked ravioli on paper towels to drain; set aside. Combine pecans and cheese in a shallow dish.

Whisk together milk, egg, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip ravioli in egg mixture then dredge in pecan mixture. Fry ravioli, in batches, 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with sauce of your choice.

Image: Wikimedia Commons