I’m sure that tucking a bit of leftover food into a sheet of pasta aka ravioli had its origins in creating abundance from very little. They are the perfect food to use up leftovers. You just need two things. Some fresh egg pasta in your freezer and some good stuff that you already cooked. The fresh pasta thing is a bit more complicated so I’ll do a separate post on it. In the meantime check out Serious Eats exploration of the perfect fresh pasta. I make my dough in the food processor, then roll it out using an Italian pasta sheet roller. And yes, when I make fresh pasta I make an extra batch or two, let it rest, wrap really well and freeze. To defrost I put it in the refrigerator the night before I want to use it.
Don’t be jealous, but I had a couple of exceptional, extraordinary, deluscious ribs leftover from an Adam Perry Lang dinner. Think the best smoked, long cooked brisket you ever ate, cooked perfectly and still juicy, marbled with fatty flavor. I told you you’d be jealous. But really you can make this with any leftover juicy, not too lean, meat.
Because I’m a traditionalist I wanted to add some greens to the filling along with a touch of sweetness in the form of carrots. The meat was juicy and fatty enough that I decided to just cook it briefly in the pressure cooker along with a bunch of lacinato kale stripped from their stems and a diced carrot. I literally cooked it under pressure for just a couple of minutes, just enough to soften the greens. I let it all cool, then I took the meat off the bone and chopped it up with my cleaver. Then I did the same with the greens and carrots. Finally I mixed the two together, adding some parmigiano reggiano to taste. You could use any grating cheese you have on hand. The mixture was juicy enough that I didn’t need to add an egg to bind it. If yours is a bit crumbly add a beaten egg. It makes it easier to make the ravioli.
I rolled out the pasta to the thinnest setting then dotted out teaspoonfuls of filling. This is one instance where more often is not better. I wanted to use this fantastic ravioli/tortelli cutter I bought in Italy which is only an inch across so I knew that I had to be careful not to overload each little puff. If you want more filling, make the ravioli bigger.
I used some canned sauce I made last summer. The pasta on these little babies was so thin that it literally took less than a minute for them to cook.