Oven-Baked Ravioli, A Book Club Recipe

Mommy belongs to a book club and, like most book clubs, meetings are as much about food and wine as they are about books.

Book club night means two food-related things for me. One: Mommy makes some yummy treat during the day to take to book club, and Two: she doesn’t leave any for me so Daddy and I have to fend for ourselves for dinner.

Yesterday I lucked out though. Mommy let me taste some of the snacks she was bringing to book club, because there were plenty.

This is more of a method than a recipe – you can make it your own in many ways. Mommy said if she were doing the ravioli again for snacking she’d use smaller ravioli so they’d be just one bite. We had plain bread crumbs, so Mommy seasoned them with garlic, parsley and oregano. Those are the herbs usually found in “seasoned” bread crumbs. Oregano is considered the “pizza” herb in Italian cooking (if you’ve ever had anything “pizzaiola,” it has lots of oregano in it – if you don’t like this flavor, leave it out.) She also added some grated Parmigiano – that always makes everything tasty! This is where you can really make this dish your own – flavor it the way you like, maybe with some cayenne or other hot pepper and some cumin to give it a smokey flavor. That might be tasty with a salsa for dipping instead of tomato sauce.

Anyway, here’s the method: Thaw a package of frozen cheese ravioli. You could always make your own, but that’s a different blog entry and there isn’t that kind of time before book club! Mommy thawed ours on paper towels because she also wanted the ravioli to be dry.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two shallow dishes for the ravioli coatings. Mommy usually uses an egg beaten with a little milk or water for the first coat, but we were out of eggs and happened to have some heavy cream, so she used that instead. The idea is to have some liquid (preferably with some fat to it) to dip the ravioli in so that the next coating will stick. The second dish should have your breadcrumbs and whatever seasoning you want added. You should add enough herbs and/or spices to your breadcrumbs so that you can see they’re there but not so much that it’s more herb/spice than breadcrumb. Mommy didn’t measure, but if I had to guess, I’d say she used about 1 teaspoon of each herb and about 3/4 cup breadcrumbs.

Spray a cooking sheet with your choice of cooking spray. Mommy usually has both olive oil and canola oil based sprays in the house. She used olive oil for this.

Working like an assembly line, dip the ravioli in the liquid and get it well coated. Let the excess liquid drip off and then place the ravioli in the breadcrumbs. Again, make sure it is well coated before moving it to the baking sheet. Continue working until your baking sheet is full or you have coated all your ravioli.

Spray the tops of the ravioli with your cooking spray. Place in the oven for about 5-8 minutes then flip them all over and allow to cook for another 5-8 minutes. They will begin to puff up a little bit and get crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven and serve with whatever dipping sauce you think is appropriate. Mommy used some basic tomato sauce she had canned last summer.

They were yummy. I’m glad there were extras!

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