Toasted ravioli is the secret handshake of St. Louis folks everywhere (along with gooey butter cake.) Legend has it that these crunchy treats originated when a German worker in an Italian restaurant dropped the ravioli into hot oil instead of boiling water|http://www.americanfoodroots.com/50-states/about-missouri/]. Traditionally they are filled with beef, but this recipe, adapted from "Mississippi Current Cookbook" by Regina Charboneau (Lyons Press, 2014), offers a lighter version with ground turkey.
- 1 (1-pound) package egg roll wrappers (24 count)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1 recipe Turkey-Pesto Filling
- All-purpose flour
- Oil for frying, preferably canola
- Prepared marinara sauce, for dipping
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut 3 rounds from each egg roll wrapper. Transfer the cut wrappers to the baking sheet and cover with a damp towel to prevent the edges from drying out while you work.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Place the bread crumbs in a second shallow bowl.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each of 12 rounds. With your finger, moisten the edge around the filling with the egg wash. Place a second wrapper on top and press the edges until they stick together. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Lay the assembled ravioli on the foil-covered baking sheet and cover with a damp towel while assembling the remaining ravioli. Repeat with remaining ingredients.*
One at a time, dip the ravioli into the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs to coat completely. Lightly dust with flour and place on the second baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
Clip a candy or deep-frying thermometer to the side of a large cast-iron skillet or dutch oven. Add oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 350 degrees over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, add 5 ravioli at a time and cook, turning once until they float to the top and are golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining ravioli.
Warm the marinara sauce and place in a serving bowl. Serve the ravioli hot alongside the sauce and sprinkle the tops with the cheese, if desired.
*The ravioli can be made ahead up to this point and frozen on the baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a heavy plastic freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Thaw, covered, before using.