Umm, um, good. Chef, boy, are these raviolis scary.
Disclaimer: No bats were harmed in the making of this recipe. Bats are good for the environment and ecosystem. Build bat-houses to help save the bats.
Raviolis were always a favorite a school lunches when I was a kid. It was a step up from the tomato soup and cheese sandwiches. But the filling meal would have been way cooler if they had these bat shaped raviolis. Make these fresh and prepare more to save for a quick snack. Don't have tomato sauce handy? Ketchup works in a pinch and is also counted as a vegetable according to federal guidelines on nutrition.
Step 1: Get Fresh...
Making fresh pasta is easy. Especially if you have a pasta machine. You could roll it out by hand too.
So I had this idea to make a dark colored pasta. I have made lighter colored pasta before but this case called for a black or dark brown color. I had no squid ink available, it also sometimes has an inky flavour so I did not want to make a batch of that. True story, when I was in kindergarten, I had to sit next to the kid that ate his crayons so I could rat him out to the teacher when he chewed on a crayon. The glue-eater sat behind me. But anyway, I didn't want to use food coloring and I had some Gravy Master which I thought was a more natural way to darken food, in retrospect, I don't really want to know how they make that stuff.
You will need:
A cup or two of all purpose flour, you can try various varieties depending on taste
A few eggs, use 1 and 1/2 eggs per cup of flour
For the filling:
You can make anything you like, meat or vegetarian or mix
I used ground turkey to keep with the fowl theme. Actually, bats are mammals that fly.
Traditional fillings are pork sausage or beef, cheese, spinach and cheese
Grated parmesan or ricotta cheese
Usual spices to flavor the filling like oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper
Step 2: Prepare the Ravioli Filling...
Brown off the meat. Add any spices to your mix.
You can pour off the excess fat if any and let it cool.
When cool, run it through the grinder or some kind of blender machine.
You want to get a fine granular pasty mix for the filling.
Grate your hard cheese while you are at it.
In a bowl, mix the meat, cheese and breadcrumbs.
You may want to add a bit of water or milk to make it a workable paste that clumps together.
Step 3: Do the Noodle Dance...
Time to make the pasta.
Add about a cup of flour to your mixing bowl. I like to do this in a bowl to keep everything contained.
Add two eggs.
At this point, unlike my experiment, add in a few drops of the Gravy Master or your food coloring.
I would recommend you go with the food coloring route since the Gravy Master did have its own dark gravy kinda flavour.
I think if I had added more Gravy Master to get the pasta a darker shade, the added flavour might have been too pronounced.
Besides, it did not get it to a black color like squid ink would have.
Mix well and congeal into one mass.
Dust with flour and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for about an hour to let the gluten relax in the dough ball.
Cut the dough ball into smaller pieces. When you work the dough through the pasta machine, it may get unmanageable. The long strips just bunch up.
Dust with flour to keep from sticking.
Run a blob through several times as you fold it over and roll it through.
You can feel when a piece of pasta is rolled to a nice consistency.
Start at the widest roller setting and gradually work the pasta to a thin skin. I went up to 6 on my machine. It was not paper thin but pasta expands a bit when cooked.
Step 4: Holy Ravioli, Batman...
With your strip of pasta laid out flat, put a dollop of the filling in the middle.
Fold over the pasta dough and seal with a drop of water if needed.
Create rectangular packages.
Use a scrap piece of pasta to form the bat ears.
Pinch the ears together and with a drop of water glue to the body.
I went with a tortellini shape on the first batch.
Fold up along the bottom in half and bring the ends to wrap around to form a cloaked bat.
Put a drop of water to glue the wingtips together in the middle.
If you look close, depending on where you glue the bat ears and which way you fold up and wrap, it will look like the wings are up or down.
You can of course not do the tortellini wrap and leave the wings spread out.
If you do leave the wings spread out, trim the pasta to look more like bat wings. Pinch a bit at the points to give them a more defined shape.
Step 5: To Fry or Not to Fry, That Is the Question...
Going batty on how to cook these?
You can just boil in salted water and sauce them up with tomato sauce or a fancy cheesy carbonara.
Or do the deep oil frying thing.
I did the semi-deep oil frying. I had to flip them over when done on one side.
You could do an extra bread crumb or panko coating and then deep fry them for traditional fried ravioli. Serve on a stick?
Step 6: Bats All, Folks...
In the end, this was really all about playing with your food.
Fresh pasta is easy to make and experiment with.
The fried raviolis could have been made with prepared wonton skin wrappers. Sweet and sour bats.
Make it with squid ink to get black colored pasta.
Come up with your own creations.