Sometimes recipes write themselves. And if recipes were writers, this, my friend, is a Nobel laureate! Well…maybe it isn’t serving the greatest benefit to all of humankind, but it’s definitely a tasty benefit to your taste buds! And it might be something new for you. I love toasted ravioli. It was one of my guilty pleasures, especially on a football Sunday, it was also created here in my hometown, or so the story goes.
A little taste of midwestern Americana, most accounts of toasted ravioli trace its origins to The Hill, a predominantly Italian-American neighborhood in South St. Louis. Supposedly, a guy named Chef Fritz accidentally dropped a ravioli into the fryer at the legendary Mama Campisi’s. “Mickey Garagiola, older brother of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Garagiola, was actually at the bar during the mishap and was the first to witness and taste the accidental treat. Other people have tried to take credit, but being a passionate Cardinal fan, I’m going with the Garagiola’s on this one!
Traditionally toasted rav’s are served with a tomato meat sauce for dipping. And if you’ve never had them, I highly recommend eating them that way at some point. However, we will lightly pan fry them for this recipe and drop them right into a decadent creamy, cheesy fondue and finish them in the oven.
The fondue is also a treat to be savored! An apres-ski pleasure in the Alps, Swiss fondue is essentially a mixture of cheese, wine, and flour. You can use it as a sauce over pasta, a dip for veggies, and of course, as a base for these yummy ravioli. So whether you’re congregating after a day on the mountain with friends or just looking for a rich, velvety cheese sauce that cannot be matched, this recipe is for you. Oh, and don’t forget to top it with your favorite vegan parmesan!
So yummy and easy to make, these toasted ravioli can be served with a simple marinara, or dressed up and served in a creamy cheesy fondue! Make sure you use an oil with a high smoke point (over 400°F.) meant for frying.
- 1 (12 oz) pack of Nasoya Vegan Won Ton Wraps *see note
- 1 package of vegan plant-based Italian sausage (I only use Hungry Planet) **see note
- 1 package of vegan mozzarella, crumbled into 1″ pieces (I like Miyoko’s) ***see note
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk
- 2 tablespoons of egg replacer (I like Just Egg, but you can also use aquafaba)
- 3 cups frying oil (I use safflower oil–510°F, or peanut oil–450°F)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (for non-alcohol, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar to 1/4 cup water)
- 1 clove garlic, whole peeled
- 3 cups vegan white cheese I used Violife feta, Daiya Farmhouse (block) Jalapeno, and Miyoko’s mozzarella (vegan parm and nutritional yeast would work well too)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoons Kirsch (or cherry juice)
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (if using vinegar in place of wine, skip the lemon juice)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, 2 teaspoons if using fresh
- Dash of paprika
- Dash of garlic powder
- Dash of nutmeg
- Dash of white pepper
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
I like to make the fondue first. You can assemble the ravioli in advance, but if not eating them the day of, put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer.
- Rub the inside of an enameled cast-iron casserole with the garlic clove; discard the garlic.
- Combine the grated cheeses with the wine and tapioca starch.
- Add lemon juice, basil, paprika, and garlic powder to the pot and cook over moderate heat, occasionally stirring until the cheeses melt about 5 minutes.
- Add the kirsch, vegetable stock, and a generous pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 10 minutes; don’t overcook the fondue, or it will get stringy. Remove from heat.
- Turn on the oven. Set to broil.
- Warm a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 water. Saute onions until they soften and become translucent (about 8 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Add sausage, oregano, and salt/pepper. Saute until the sausage begins to brown if ingredients start to stick at 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Add mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.
- Remove from heat and set mixture aside.
TOOLS–(Pastry brush, a small bowl of water. A ravioli cutter is helpful but optional)
- To assemble ravioli, lay half the won ton wrappers on a flat dry surface. (Make sure you only have one).
- Add 1 tablespoon of filling to the middle of each won ton wrap.
- Dip a pastry brush into water and lightly brush the perimeter of the won ton wrapper.
- Using the other half of the wraps, brush one side of the wrap with a small amount of water and lay the wet side down directly on top of the meat-filled wrap. Repeat until all 24 are sealed. I like to start at the top and work my way around sealing the edges with my fingers. You can apply slight pressure to the middle and press down around the filling. Take a little water and smooth it down with your finger if it tears. Make sure they are sealed well. If using a ravioli cutter, press down until ravioli is cut and well sealed. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Combine milk and egg sub in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a pie pan or shallow bottomed bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture and coat with breadcrumbs.
- In a large, heavy pan, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli a few at a time, 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- To a medium casserole dish, add fondue and place ravioli on top. Spoon fondue sauce onto ravioli to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock to thin.
- Place in oven and bake until fondue is bubbly and slightly browned. About 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese and basil!
- To serve, place ravioli on a plate and drizzle with fondue. Top with parsley and additional parmesan.
- Serve immediately.
*One pack of won ton wrappers makes 24 ravioli.
**I’ve tried a half dozen or so plant-based sausages, and nothing compares to the flavor and texture of Hungry Planet. It also has a whopping 17g of protein and zero fat!
***I like whole block vegan cheeses. I’m not too fond of shredded cheeses because of the taste. The anti-caking ingredients give it a strange flavor.