Fried ravioli is a thing, right? Everyone says it is a St. Louis thing. That is, everyone except me because I had never had fried ravioli. Am I the only one? If so, please don’t tell me. It will make me feel alone and totally out of touch.
I ran across a recipe while I was searching for Italian-themed inspirations for a meal. Sam and Steve love Italian food, but because I tend to live low-carb and because there is so much pasta in Italian meals, I admit that I have mostly avoided that cuisine in recent years. But I’ve taken pity on the guys and have tried to make more of it lately. So, searching for inspiration, I ran across these little fellows. Yeah, low-carb had to take a mini vacation because fried ravioli looked so beautifully delicious and seemed so easy to make, I had to give it a shot.
And guess what guys. Fried ravioli IS beautifully delicious and it IS so easy to make.
We always celebrate the new year with a table full of finger foods because you can graze all night instead of eating another big, rich holiday meal that will make you too sleepy to last until midnight. I can tell you that fried ravioli is now going to be a part of my New Year table.
Let’s see what goes into making fried ravioli
These fried ravioli are delicious on their own, but you may also want to have a nice marinara sauce for dipping.
You can make your own ravioli. My sister-in-law, Sue, has been known to make homemade ravioli. I admire that a lot. I may try it some day. But in the meantime, there are several brands out now that make beautiful fresh pastas.
You can buy frozen ravioli, and many of the recipes I researched recommend using frozen, even frying them while still frozen. But I liked the idea of using something as fresh as possible. And I was not disappointed. I went with two different types of ravioli, both made by Rana. The mushroom and the cheese appealed to me the most because, well, we are a cheese and a mushroom kinda family.
Buttermilk, versus egg, versus buttermilk and egg. When I compared recipes, I was seeing all kinds of variations. So, I had to try them out. And here is what I discovered: the egg mixture, either alone or combined with the buttermilk, created a more solid crust shell. But like many shells, it was more prone to breaking and falling off the ravioli. The buttermilk alone made for a thinner, more delicate crust, but it stayed put on the ravioli. And it did not lack for crunch. So, saving some fat and calories by omitting the egg, while not compromising on the big crunch factor made buttermilk alone the way to go.
Most recipes called for seasoned or Italian breadcrumbs. I tried the Italian, but here’s the thing. Regular breadcrumbs tend to have a bit of a sweet finishing taste, and they tend to absorb more oil than panko. For those reasons, unless a recipe absolutely calls for traditional bread crumbs, I tend to substitute panko whenever I can. This time I decided the best solution was to compromise, so I used equal parts of both by combining them in the blender. That also made the crumbs equally-sized so they would coat the ravioli more evenly.
Finally, grated parmesan is just fine. I used Parmigiano Reggiano because we love it so much we always have a block in the deli drawer of our fridge.
Let’s look at the steps to make fried ravioli
It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
One hand to dip each raviolo in the buttermilk (making sure to shake off the excess), and another hand to toss it in the bread crumbs (pressing down to pack them into all the nooks and crannies). If you look carefully, I got my hands confused and ended up with some bread crumbs in my buttermilk. I was trying to use my other left, I guess.
Bread all the ravioli at once and place the finished ones on a cookie sheet.
Then take your cookie sheet to the stove and fry 5 at a time in about 2 inches of oil. For those of you who need to be precise, the recipes I compared usually recommended heating the oil to 350° F. I turned my burner knob to just shy of medium and called it good.
Why 5 at a time? You can go with more, but I found that since you need to flip them after about 3 minutes on the first side, it was easier to manage 5. After 3 minutes on the other side, they should be nice and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ravioli to either a draining rack, or a dish covered with brown paper or paper towels. I like the draining rack the best because it keeps the ravioli from sitting on greasy paper, making it crispier than it would be otherwise.
I love the way they puff out when they cook. These are seriously crunchy, folks.
You can store them in a keep-warm oven until ready to serve. I made these before Sam woke up (he works nights), and I wanted him to have them nice and warm for his lunch. They were in there for a good two hours and were still crunchy on the outside and gooey in the inside.
Then top with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan and get to eating these guys!
Eat over a plate, because the crunchy-crumblies can make a bit of a mess. And marinara can sometimes make a bit of a mess. But you know what? If this is messy, I don’t want to be neat!
I ate more than I should have.
I’m now totally in on this thing called fried ravioli.
I’m going to be in on it again very, very soon. Because they are calling me.
- ¾ cup Italian or other seasoned bread crumbs
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1½ cup buttermilk
- 2 packages fresh ravioli (15 ravioli each), choice of filling
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Canola oil for frying
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat about 2 inches of the oil in a heavy pan to about 350° F.
- In a blender, combine the seasoned bread crumbs and the panko.
- Pour into a shallow bowl.
- Pour the buttermilk into a second shallow bowl.
- Dip each raviolo in the buttermilk, coating completely.
- Shake off excess buttermilk and dredge the raviolo in the bread crumbs.
- Pack the bread crumbs down to fill all the nooks and crannies.
- Transfer to a baking sheet.
- Repeat to coat all the ravioli.
- Fry the ravioli 5 at a time in the heated oil.
- Using a slotted spoon, turn the ravioli over after 3-4 minutes, or when the bottom side is golden brown.
- Cook the second side for 3-4 minutes until browned.
- Remove from the hot oil and drain on a rack, or on a plate covered with brown paper or paper towels.
- Top with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan.
- Serve warm with warm marinara sauce for dipping.