Fresh pasta… The ancient Chinese secret

ravioli brwn buttr caper copy

Won Ton Cheese Ravioli’s served with a brown butter caper sauce: Saucesome.

Welcome back readers to the half literate gibberish that is the Pot and Pan Handlers blog. Today we’re going back in history to solve a problem you might not know you have… A depressing lack of fresh pasta replaced with thick dried sheets of pasta manufactured by a Henry Ford-esque production line in Bannockburn, Illinois. An Italian Grandmother is rolling over in her grave at the very thought of such a thing. Resto facile Nonna, for with a little help from the Far East we will have access to fresh pasta, the only skill needed: open the freezer door.

Ravioli x 2 copy

Won Ton Cheese Ravioli’s served 2 ways: Bolognese and Lemon Caper. Fugghetaboudit.

In the beginning

Like all stories this one begins at the beginning so let’s get started. When I was a wee little Pot Handler sometimes my parents would take us to Fargo North Dakota’s answer to Chinese food: Nine Dragons, where I first discovered the beauty that is fried cream cheese wontons. Then, one day at Larson’s (local corner grocery store, that like most locally owned corner grocery stores, folded when people fled from them in droves to save 15 cents on butt-wipe from a megalomart) while there, I discovered a package of wonton wraps. Intriguing, thought I, if throwing cream cheese in these prepackaged squares and frying is all there is to it… I could do it at home.

So I purchased them and went home with dreams of fried Chinese take-out dancing in my head. Once I got home, I took off the lid and preheated my parent’s fry daddy, spooned some cream cheese into a wonton wrap and fried it. In mere minutes I was eating a homemade cream cheese wonton, fresh from the fryer. This was something that until that moment I had thought would be quite impossible.

Boom, it was on. Ham & cheese, turkey, broccoli & cheese, PB&J, anything I could shove in a wrap, I fried that shit. A short lived phase… but a useful one nonetheless, as it would one day serve me well to remember the fresh pasta squares that are wonton wraps in the future.

Ravioli fry

Fried Cheese & Jalapeno Won Ton Raviolis. Spicy.

Say Cheese

Years later the Pan Handler came into my life and we moved to Madison, Wisconsin where we had the good fortune to live within walking distance of an Italian Deli, Fraboni’s. http://frabonisdeli.com/ inside that deli, I was introduced to many wonderful things; authentic Porkettas, Muffuletta sandwiches, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and genuine, handmade, thin, fresh pasta. For 5 years whenever we needed pasta we went to Fraboni’s.

Then one day we moved, to the seventh ring of hell, or Rochester, Minnesota, I forget which. Guess what dedicated readers? You can live on every single block of the seventh ring of hell, or Rochester, Minnesota and you’ll never be within walking distance of fresh pasta. I can hear ya’ now, what kind of shit is that? Yeah, right, exactly. Until one day I thought, what the hell is pasta anyway? Eggs, flour and water, nothing more and nothing less… just like wonton wraps and their larger counter part egg roll wraps with the added bonus of wraps are thinner than dried pasta, much like traditional Italian pasta.

lasagna copy

Egg Roll Wrap Five Meat Lasagna: Get me a liter of Cabernet, STAT!

Not a bad wrapper… for a white guy.

Ever since that day, often when we need pasta we buy wonton and or egg roll wraps and keep the leftovers, double bagged in the freezer so we’ve always got fresh pasta on hand. Now you can too. Cut spring roll wraps with a pizza cutter into linguine-esque noodles, use em’ as lasagna noodles, or stuff wonton wraps with a ricotta mixture and boil to make raviolis. You can even take it a step further, dip ‘em in egg wash, flour, back in the egg wash into panko, let rest, and fry. Oh you’re too healthy for that shit… Fine, that shit tastes good baked too. Do you like mozzarella sticks? You can wrap a string cheese in an egg roll wrap and use the same egg wash, flour, panko mixture to make cheese sticks. Why do that at home when there’s a bar with cheese sticks on the menu close to your house? Because those pricks never put in a slice of pepperoni or a leaf of basil in their cheese sticks, and you can.

mozz wrap copy

Cut a mozzarella stick into 4 or 5 pieces place in center of won ton with basil & pepperoni and wrap that shit like a burrito.

Mozz bare copy

Back right: Won ton wrapped Mozz, Back left: Dipped in egg wash & flour, Foreground: second egg wash and dipped in Panko.

Ravioli Fry copy

Fry those double dips in peanut oil @ 350 degrees until they look like these. Drain on a paper towel. Finish for about 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Mozzie dressed copy

Dress that shit up like it’s prom. Dust with Parm & Parsley and serve with a red sauce for dipping.

Mozzie stretch copy

If it doesn’t stretch give it another couple minutes in the oven. When it does this you know it’s done.

Coming soon… Don’t eat like a bitch, a comprehensive guide to eating BBQ sandwiches, Made rites and sloppy Joes, because you’re doing it wrong. Until then use your new found pastafarian ways for good, never for evil… -The Pot and Pan Handler.

 

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6 comments on “Fresh pasta… The ancient Chinese secret
  1. I definitely learned something today. Who would have thought to use those wonton wrappers for anything other than wontons? Or egg roll wrappers? That is why I have friends like you who can enlighten me. The little mozzarella and basil number has my eye…..

  2. Johnbo says:

    Ah, the old Fry Daddy. Just today, I asked your dear mother whether we need to buy a deep fryer. I now have ammunition to deflect the “No,” I heard.

    • steiner says:

      Haha I’d have to say I agree with the no… Unless you do a lot of frying, which I suspect you do not. If you did a lot of frying I would recommend getting a fryer, but not a lil’ fry daddy. Something larger with fry baskets, top of the line. Otherwise if you have limited frying necessity there is nothing wrong with the stove top, it just requires a little more maintenance to keep temp than a deep fryer.

      • You were, of course, correct. The Fry Daddy is now relegated to the cupboards and a shiny new fryer with a nice wire fry basket is in the place of honor!

        • Josh says:

          Nice! Well played, a much wiser investment than the Fry Daddy… We’re thinking we’ll get a cast iron chicken fryer to take care of our frying needs. Fried chicken last night… Mmmmm fried chicken.

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