Toasted ravioli, or "toasted ravs" as they are often referred to here in St. Louis, are one of my favorite appetizers. Although I had heard of and eaten plenty of toasted ravioli before moving to St. Louis, I was unaware that St. Louisians believed that the dish originated here. For a long while I questioned the legitimacy of this claim, however I have found no evidence to suggest otherwise. I guess that's good enough for me! =)
If you are not familiar with this dish (St. Louis style), it is simply fried breaded ravioli that is sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with marinara sauce. It is found in many of the restaurants located on The Hill, which is St. Louis's equivalent to a Little Italy. The Hill has many amazing restaurants that serve authentic Italian food. If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for some Italian food, definitely head to The Hill, located in South St. Louis, for a fantastic dining experience.
|"The Hill" banners are displayed throughout the neighborhood|
Adapted from allrecipes.com
2 tablespoons whole milk
¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs*
½ teaspoon salt
½ package frozen ravioli, thawed
3 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce for dipping
* If you only have plain breadcrumbs on hand, do not fret. You can easily convert them into italian style bread crumbs with the addition of a few spices. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/4 dried oregano to 1 cup plain bread crumbs. Mix together, and voila! Italian breadcrumbs at your disposal.
Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs and salt in a shallow bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture, and coat with breadcrumbs.
In a large heavy pan, pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown when added. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, 30 seconds - 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels.
In the microwave or on the stove, heat up the desired amount of marinara sauce for dipping.
Sprinkle the ravioli with parmesan cheese and serve immediately with the hot marinara sauce.
These turned out great! I only wish that I would have made more. Maggie and myself devoured these in about 3 minutes flat. As you can see, I used refrigerated ravioli, but if you are feeling extra ambitious you can make them from scratch. However, the store bought tasted just fine. Next time, I will buy frozen ravioli that is larger in size. These turned out to be "mini" toasted ravioli, which was fine for this particular audience of two. But if I were to make these for an appetizer, I would opt for the larger sized pasta. These are simple to make and if you haven't ever tried them, they are highly recommended!