Monday, June 1, 2015

Southwestern Pierogi Ravioli with potato, corn, and chiles

Have you read my review of the Fonde ravioli pin made by Repast Supply Company? You should. Right after you check out this recipe. Because this is a little bit crazy.

I was trying to think of something different than the typical ravioli fillings of cheese, meat, and mushrooms.

My mind wandered to pierogi, which are also stuffed pasta.

While pierogi also might be filled with meat, cheese, or mushrooms, there are some other common pierogi fillings that are very different from what you'd find in ravioli - like potato, sauerkraut, and fruit-filled dessert pierogi.

But I didn't want just make a square pierogi. I liked the idea of potato as a filling, but i knew I needed to add something that was non-traditional in both cuisines. I settled on corn to add sweetness, and decided to use creamed corn because of the smaller pieces and to take advantage of the creamy liquid that would add moisture to the potatoes.

I made a batch with the corn and potato filling, and fried them in butter with some onions and prosciutto, and it was pretty good.

But the onions and prosciutto overwhelmed the filling a little bit, and the sweetness of the onions competed with the sweetness of the corn. It was a good dish, but not amazing.

I really wanted the pasta and its filling to be the thing that people would comment about. So i added peppers to give the filling a spicy southwestern flair. I tried the final dish with a number of different toppings, and my favorite was the combination of a  green salsa along with guacamole.

Southwestern Pierogi Ravioli

For the pasta:
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs
Water, as needed (about 1 cup)

For the filling:
2 pounds baking potatoes, baked or microwaved until done
1 14.75-ounce can creamed corn
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 4-ounce cans diced Hatch chiles (mild or hot, your choice)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the pasta:
I made the pasta dough in my stand mixer, but you can certainly knead it by hand.

First combine the flour and salt, then add the egg and then begin mixing in the water. you want a firm dough, but not super-solid, so add as much water as you need to get to that point. If you add too much water, you can add a little more flour as you knead.

Knead by hand or with the stand mixer until the dough is elastic. Form the dough into a ball and set aside for at least 20 minutes to rest. You can also make it ahead and stash it in the refrigerator.

To make the filling:
Peel the potatoes or scoop the flesh out - whichever is easier for you.

Rice or mash the potatoes, then add the creamed corn, cream cheese, salt, chiles, and pepper. Mix well. It should be fairly smooth with just small lumps from the corn and peppers.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper, if desired.

To make the ravioli:
For easiest handling, divide the dough into 4 pieces.

Roll the first two pieces on a lightly floured work surface until each is a rectangle a bit wider than 17 inches by about 15 inches. They shouldn't be paper thin, but they should be considerably thinner than a corn tortilla.

If the pasta bounced back too much as you roll it, cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes, then continue rolling.

Make sure your work surface has a light sprinkle of flour. Lay one of the pasta sheets in front of you with one of the 17-inch sides facing you. Spread half of the filling on top of the pasta, then top with the second sheet of pasta. You can stretch it to make sure it fits over the bottom sheet.

Use the Fonde ravioli pin to crate the ravioli. Trim the outside edges, then cut the ravioli apart with a pizza cutter, pasta cutter, or sharp knife. If you need tips about using the pin, check out this post.

Continue with the rest of the dough and filling.

If you're not going to cook all of the ravioli, you can place them on a baking sheet (make sure they're not touching each other) and freeze them.

Once frozen, you can put them in a plastic bag to store them in the freezer. You shouldn't thaw the pasta - just cook it from its frozen state. It takes slightly longer to cook, but not much.

To cook the pasta:
Use a wide, short sided pan with a lid. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and just enough water to barely cover the bottom of the pan - just a barely 1/8 inch is plenty. Cover the pan and heat  on high until it bubbles, then add as much pasta as will fit in a single layer with a little space between them. Cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes then remove the lid and let the pasta continue cooking until all the water has evaporated and the pasta begins to fry in the butter. If you've added the barest amount of water, it should evaporate very quickly. If the pasta seems to be swimming in water, drain some of it out - since the pasta is fresh, it cooks quickly - you don't want it to get mushy.

When the pasta has browned a little on one side (it should be spotty browned), flip it over and brown it on the second side.

Serve hot with the condiments of your choice: Salsa, guacamole, sour cream (or crema or creme fraiche) would be my choices - or a combination of two or more of them.

If you want to tone down the heat of the chiles without adding any strong flavors, a little crema does that very nicely.

I received the Fonde pin from the manufacturer at no cost to me. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of it here, since it's so much fun to work with!