Friday, May 24, 2013

Sausage and Mushroom Filled Ravioli

I am absolutely crazily in love with ravioli.  There should be a 12-step program for people like me.

With that being said, I am a bit of a ravioli snob.

Maybe it's the chewy texture of the pasta, maybe it's the mild sweet tang of the fennel in the Italian sausage, or the earthiness of the mushrooms - or a combination of all the above, but the combination of it all together is simply fabulous.  There is no other way to put it.  I love well flavor ravioli and have been looking everywhere to get it.  Until I had an epiphany.  It was time to learn to make it.  Why??

Because I stopped buying frozen ravioli a few years ago since it never tasted half as good as the description sounded on the package.  I know that packaging is supposed to draw you in, but it always left me unsatisfied.  For Christmas, I asked for a ravioli press, the plates that help form ravioli to keep them a uniform size and shape.  I already had the pasta roller and a killer recipe for the pasta dough from the Food Network...which I've already added my unique twist to so making a ravioli with my favorite pizza toppings was a natural progression, I suppose.

I found that I had all the ingredients on hand to make this little treasure so I promptly headed to the kitchen....even though we were leaving the next day to visit family and from there we were off on a much needed mini-vacation to Florida, a little business coupled with some sightseeing and R&R.  Good thing that ravioli freezes well, otherwise we'd have been giving some much desired treasures away to those that might not have appreciated them as much as we have!

Pasta Dough recipe: ($1.25)
I do add in 1 tsp. garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. white pepper to the flour before I begin mixing the dough, but that is entirely optional.

1 1/2 tsp. fennel seed ($.05)
3 cloves of garlic, minced ($.05)
1 T. olive oil ($.05)
2 tsp. basil ($.05)
1.1 lb. mild Italian sausage ($1.90)
1 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped ($2.00)
3 T. garlic butter ($.10)
salt and pepper ($.05)
2/3 C. ricotta cheese ($.40)
3 T. parmesan ($.10)

Egg Wash:
1 egg white ($.10)
1 tsp water (free)
Blend these together well.

Fillng directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, fennel seed, and garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.  Add in sausage and cook over medium heat just until sausage is cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside to drain on paper towel.

Add garlic butter to the same pan over medium heat.  Once fragrant, add in finely chopped mushrooms and cook until tender.  Remove from heat and fold into Italian sausage.  Once fully cooled, stir in parmesan and ricotta.

Ravioli directions:

Roll out pasta until the dough is thin, usually to the second to last setting on your pasta roller.
Cut pasta dough to the length of your ravioli press and press 1 sheet into shape.

Brush edges of dough with egg wash and add 2-3 tsp. of filling to each ravioli.  Cover with another sheet of pasta dough, then use a rolling pin to smooth out edges and to help seal all edges and press pasta into shape.  Gently shake ravioli out of the press and separate, if needed.

Repeat process until you have used all remaining ingredients.

Set aside on a well floured baking sheet.  If you intend to free ravioli, let ravioli set for up to an hour to dry before sealing in a freezer bag.  Ravioli can be frozen up to 6 weeks.

Cost: $6.00
Yield: 64 mini ravioli or 8 servings
Cost per serving: $.75

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