January 28, 2009

Toasted Ravioli with a Warm Tomato Dipping Sauce

16 to 20 oz fresh ravioli

for the breading:
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chervil
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water or milk

for the sauce:
14 oz canned diced tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chervil
1 teaspoon oregano

In a shallow bowl mix together the bread crumbs, oregano and chervil. Beat the egg yolk and water together in a small bowl. Dip each ravioli in the egg then toss it in the bread crumbs. Set aside.

In skillet, heat 1/2 inch oil. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and then saute the shallot and garlic until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and spices. Simmer until it thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Fry the ravioli in batches, flipping once, until golden. Drain on paper towel lined plates. Serve hot or at room temperature with warm tomato dipping sauce.

My thoughts:
Toasted ravioli is a fun appetizer with St. Louis roots. There are a lot of stories surrounding their creation. Some think it was based on a sweet ravioli dish that was popular in Italy and adapted into a savory version by Italian immigrants in the US. Other reports date back to the 1940s when any one of a number of St. Louis chefs may have accidentally dropped ravioli into boiling oil rather than water. How that explains the breading is beyond me but it is a cute story. Regardless of the origin, toasted (sounds so much better than fried, right?) ravioli is an extremely satisfying appetizer or snack. They are crisp and especially delicious when dipped into a tomato sauce.