Everybody has a different “cooking personality”: some are rigid, by-the-recipe people, others are rebellious free-form experimenters who have never cracked open a cookbook in their life. I’m definitely more of a “Hmmm… interesting idea. Now let’s improvise!” type of cook, which led to an adventurous experience in a recent attempt to make raviolli.
The whole thing is documented in this video, but for those of you who don’t watch video, let me share the story.
Somewhere not too long ago, I read about using no-boil lasagna sheets to make manicotti, the Italian stuffed pasta tubes baked in tomato sauce somewhat like a rolled lasagna. According to the article, instead of making your own pasta, you just soak the lasagna sheets in warm water for a few minutes and they become pliable enough to roll into manicotti tubes.
Hmmm… interesting idea. Now let’s improvise! If the sheets get flexible enough to be rolled, surely they could be folded in half to form raviolli, right?
What sounded like a good idea didn’t work so well in practice. The pasta sheets are simply too thick and even after ten minutes in very hot water, attemps at making raviolli with the sheets were failing badly.
Never one to be fearful of switching the proverbial horses mid-stream, I retreated to making manicott, albeit without a recipe. I will say this, though: the improvised white bean and spinach stuffing was to die for.
Above, White bean and spinach manicotti with fresh green salad.
Just to make sure the meal turned out okay, I threw together an apple crisp. This is always a safe end to a meal, though even here I stepped out on a limb for a bit more improvisation and tried some maple syrup instead of sugar to sweeten the apples. Along with a few handfulls of chopped pecans, the crisp was a perfect end to the raviolli – er, manicotti – meal.
Above, a scoop of maple-pecan-apple crisp to finish the meal.