A note on the title. I felt like this should be billed as some kind of crap Semi-Homemade post in order to be honest, but look, not only is it not realistic to make fresh pasta for ravioli on a regular basis (or ever, if you don’t want to get homicidally angry at a pasta machine), but this cheater version tastes really good. It seems bizarre to employ a prepared food from a completely different cuisine to make ravioli, but somehow it jus works. The secret (or totally non-secret) is wonton wrappers! Or as a friend accidentally texted, wanton wrappers. Just naughty enough.

We had a bit of a ravioli party, all inventing our own frankenstein ravioli shapes and devouring the results. I highly recommend this activity for a fun dinner party or for kids (not that I have them). It’s easy and really satisfying when you’re done!

This time around, beet filling was the choice, but then my mind started racing, thinking about all the delicious fillings one could use instead. Winter squash, pumpkin, a whole egg yolk (zomg), herbed ricotta, NUTELLA, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention sauces, which in this case consisted simply of brown butter with fried sage, but could again run the gamut from pesto to bolognese. What I’m saying is, get creative. You basically can’t fail.

In the photo, I served the ravioli over some purple kale, sauteed with lots of garlic and red pepper flakes.

Instructions after the jump!

Beet Ravioli
Serves 6 as a main course
adapted from this epicurious recipe

1 package wonton wrappers (you should be able to find Nasoya brand in the refrigerated section of  your grocery store)
3 medium beets, roasted
3/4 c. ricotta
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
1 stick butter
10 sage leaves
parmesan cheese

Prepare the filling
You can purchase beets already roasted at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods (probably elsewhere as well) — shrink wrapped and sold in the grocery section. But they’re in season at the farmer’s market now, so I just bought a few loose beets (a little less than 2 lbs. worth) and roasted them at home. Wash the beets and chop off any crazy long roots. Wrap each individually with foil and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until a knife easily pierces all the way through to the center. Let the beets cool, peel them (should just slide right off), and then grate on the small holes of a box grater. Your hands will become very magenta-colored, and whatever you do, don’t wear white.

When you’re ready to make your ravioli, mix in the ricotta, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Taste the filling and season until it is delicious on its own.

Make the ravioli
You can make square or triangular ravioli, or use a cookie cutter to make round ones. The only thing that matters is that you sufficiently wet the edges of your ravioli before sealing, and get rid of any air pockets. Otherwise you will have filling-infused water (and water-infused ravioli). Put a small dollop of filling in the center of a wrapper (don’t overstuff), use your finger or a brush to wet the entire outer edge, and then either fold into a triangle or lay a second wrapper on top for the square. Push out any air and press the edges tightly, all the way around. I did this on a layer of semolina flour so they wouldn’t stick together before going in the water.

Butter & sage
It seems like a lot of butter, and it is, but it’s worth it. Cook the butter over medium heat in a small saute pan until the milk solids begin to caramelize. As they’re turning brown, add the sage leaves and cook until the butter has further caramelized and the sage leaves are crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the ravioli
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, and slowly lower in your ravioli. Stir to keep them from sticking to each other or the bottom. Don’t crowd them! Better to do two batches than one gummy batch. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, or about 30 seconds longer than it takes them to float (to make sure the filling is heated through). Serve immediately, drizzled with browned butter, and top with fried sage leaves and parmesan.