Dating back to at least the 14th century, ravioli have long been a satisfying treat spanning cultures across the globe. The Italians have their raviolis, but so do the Russians their pelmini, the Ukrainians their varenyky, and the Chinese their 義大利餃 (Italian jiaozi, or dumpling).
They have a rich history - according to Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food by John Dickie, ravioli were reportedly served to the papal enclave of 1549 - along with boiled chicken.
Though I'd pass on the boiled chicken, I'll rarely pass on a good ravioli. With the right filling and the right sauce the combination can be heavenly. Although tedious, the preparation could hardly be called difficult, with or without a ravioli mold.
It is, however, incredibly time consuming.
And time is something that I often have little of, especially when in the middle of a semester so brain-rending that medieval torture devices would provide respite from my agony. I'll take water-torture over a 3 paper week any time.
That being said, the substitution of store-bought gyoza wrappers (the round equivalent of a wonton wrapper, more commonly used in Japanese cuisine) for homemade pasta dough works quite adequately. It makes a good deal of sense that they would considering that potstickers are really just the Asian equivalent of ravioli in any case.
Some might frown upon the shortcut, but if they have the time to make homemade pasta dough on a weeknight and then assemble the raviolis one by one - well, feel free to stop by anytime. My kitchen awaits your culinary bad-assery.
In the meantime, I'll stick to my gyoza wrappers.
There is one important distinction among the two common types of store-bought wrappers, though. Hong Kong style wrappers are made with egg, most similar to a typical Italian pasta dough, however they are rolled very, very thinly. Shanghai style wrappers are much thicker, but made without egg - only flour and water.
Even though I prefer a thicker wrapper, I like the egg in the Hong Kong style wrappers more - plus, since they're thinner, I can eat more ravioli before spending all my calories for the day.
The calorie match-up?
Hong Kong Style: 1 serving (13 wrappers) = 180 calories
Shanghai Style: 1 serving (7 wrappers) = 200 calories
I'm sure you see my point.
I used the same filling for two different types of ravioli, though, because I had both Hong Kong and Shanghai style wrappers on hand (there's a whole lotta potsticker cooking going on in our house). I made traditional round ravioli with the Hong Kong style - using two wrappers for each - and mezzaluna style ravioli with the Shanghai style wrappers - using one wrapper folded over the filling.
Both were delicious. I used this sauce.
When sitting down to make either potstickers or ravioli I prefer to make a huge batch all at once. I then put the extras on a sheet pan, without touching, in a freezer until frozen solid then toss them in a bag for easy weeknight noshing. Don't bother thawing them, just cook them for a few minutes longer and you're golden. Just be sure to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or something before freezing to prevent any ravioli-freezing-to-the-pan-and-breaking-upon-attempted-removal-thereby-ruining-said-ravioli.
Mushroom-Pecorino Romano Ravioli
Yields approximately 32 ravioli
8 ounces mushrooms, assorted varieties
3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, coarsely grated
1 med shallot, diced
1 large garlic clove, chopped roughly
handful fresh parsley leaves (about 3 tablespoons)
64 Hong Kong Style gyoza wrappers (available at your local Asian grocery)
1 egg, beaten
Put first 5 ingredients in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Line a fine mesh sieve with a paper towel or tea towel and let mixture drain for about 15 minutes, or until most liquid is gone. Brush one wrapper with egg. Place a tablespoon of mushroom mixture in center.
Top with another wrapper and press down to seal. Be sure to press around the filling to get out all extra air and liquid before sealing completely. When it comes to ravioli, air is your enemy - it may cause the ravioli to burst while boiling.
Boil for approximately 3-4 minutes or until ravioli float to the top and stay there. Serve with desired sauce.
This is a nutritional estimate, regard it as such.
Hong Kong Style Ravioli
40 calories per ravioli
7 g carbohydrate
>1 g fat
2 g protein
Shanghai Style Ravioli
70 calories per ravioli
13 g carbohydrate
>1 g fat
3 g protein