Remember how I said in my last post I was going to go on a diet? This post proves that my all things in moderation strategy has been more about all things and less about moderation. I just couldn’t help myself because not long after a shipment of Pasta Prima ravioli ended up on my doorstep. If cheese is my first love and chocolate my second, than pasta is a close third. Especially filled pasta. If I’m out at an Italian restaurant and there is ravioli, tortellini, or cannelloni on the menu it’s usually a done deal what I’m having. Sure, I’ll scan the menu in the name of due diligence, but eventually, the ravioli is mine.
That’s why when the people at Pasta Prima asked me if I’d be interested in coming up with a recipe that reinvents ravioli I instantly accepted the challenge. In fairness, I could have come up with a healthy dish. I think all things (pasta included) are perfectly acceptable in moderation and when balanced out with a fresh sauce, lean meats, and lots of veggies can make for a meal that satisfies without overdoing it. But I was feeling more indulgent. My deep fry thermometer was calling me.
And so I decided upon the idea of making a Mushroom Lover’s Caesar Salad. I’d toss my romaine and slivers of Asiago cheese in the classic dressing, but switch it up from there with plump slices of grilled baby portabella mushrooms and the star of the salad… Fried Ravioli ‘Croutons.’ Croutons often seem like a forgotten aspect of a salad, unless it’s a panzanella, so I wanted to create one instead where they would be the star. And where they would be made out of something less traditional than bread.
I took the Wild Mushroom Ravioli and simply fried them in about 2 inches of oil until they turned lovely and golden on both sides.
I’ve seen lots of fried ravioli recipes that involve dipping the ravioli in liquid before dredging them in bread crumbs, but I loved the simplicity of this. It yielded a perfectly crisp exterior, much like a wonton or an egg roll. And that paired against the molten cheese and meaty hot chunks of mushroom in the middle made for a perfect combination.
Because the ravioli come with a cheese and herb packet I also tossed the ‘croutons’ in this mixture once some of the oil had a chance to drain off on a paper towel. It upped the flavor by adding a pop from the herbs and the cheese that was much appreciated.
And the finished dish? Delectable and definitely a change from the standard caesar salad. I loved how the clean and fresh flavors of the romaine balanced against the richness of the dressing and the indulgent fried ravioli croutons. And the grilled portabellas perfectly mirrored the flavor in the ravioli, which I have to say, impressed me. I love that the ingredient list truly was all natural things I could recognize and that the flavor came pretty darn close to the ravioli I have made myself. I’m still a fan of making my own ravioli from scratch, but on the nights I don’t have the time to do everything from scratch, these are a wonderful option.
Yields 4 servings
-8 small portabella mushrooms
-One package Pasta Prima Wild Mushroom Ravioli
-1 head romaine lettuce, thoroughly washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
-1/2 cup Caesar dressing, I made mine homemade using this recipe
-2 ounces Asiago cheese, thinly sliced.
In a dutch oven, add vegetable oil pouring to a depth of about 2 inches and heat to 350 degrees F. While oil is preheating, preheat a grill pan or grill. Toss mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place on the grill once it is heated. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, until the mushrooms have darkened in color and have deep grill marks. Set mushrooms aside.
Next, add the ravioli to the dutch oven, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for about 1 minute per side or until each side is golden. Place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain off excess oil and repeat until all ravioli have been fried. Once much of the oil has drained off, toss the ravioli in a bowl with the cheese and herb mixture that accompanied the ravioli. Set aside.
To compose the salad, slice the mushrooms and toss with the romaine lettuce and dressing. Divide among four plates and top each with fried ravioli (I had enough for 2 per salad plus one for me to sample) and slices of Asiago.