Food is my love language. And I’m not just saying that because it happens to be Valentine’s Day. Food is my passion all days of the year.
There are few things in life that I would say I am truly passionate about, and food is one of the lucky few. I’ve said this a million and one times before, but I think one of the most meaningful gestures is making someone a meal. It can really show someone how much you care. I don’t mean a six-course feast that destroys your kitchen, manicure, and possibly a piece of your soul. I don’t mean a meal that requires you to drop major moolah either. Just a meal. Homemade. From the heart. To me, there is little that means as much.
Today’s recipe is one of those that makes me smack myself on the forehead. I’ve been making this exact pasta dish for years and somehow have neglected to share it with you all! Forehead smacks are in order. Because, guys, I have been majorly holding out on you.
I call these homemade ravioli “pillows” because that is exactly what they feel like in your mouth. Food pillows. Wonton wrappers are my favorite way to make homemade ravioli. I don’t have the time or patience to make homemade pasta sheets from scratch, as “easy” as some people tout it to be. I have not found that to be true. Wonton wrappers are the perfect solution! They are light and neutral in flavor, and they cook up easily and perfectly tender every time. They are an amazing housing for this light-as-air ricotta filling.
The filling itself is straightforward: ricotta, parmesan, and a little salt and pepper. Feel free to add in other mix-ins like veggies or meat, but to me, these are perfect just as they are. They cook up suuuuuuper light and fluffy and just sort of melt in your mouth.
And the sauce is nothing short of awesome, too. It starts where all good things start: with bacon. Or, in this case, pancetta. Pancetta essentially is non-smoked Italian bacon. It gets crispy and delicious just like our American version but without the smoky flavor. It adds a ton of porky deliciousness to this tomato sauce, and I absolutely adore it.
Some vermouth and aromatics later, the kitchen is smelling incredible. That’s when I whip out a couple pantry staples: canned tomatoes and jarred marinara sauce. Now, I know using jarred marinara is like sacrilege to some people, but I gotta tell ya, I use it all the time and have found some incredible brands and flavors that taste just as good as homemade.
Like the new Bertolli® organic pasta sauces. They are so yummy! Normally when I make this tomato sauce, I add in a ton of grated parmesan or pecorino romano to add creamy, cheesy flavor, but in this case, I used the Bertolli® five cheese sauce and felt that it GREATLY satisfied that cheesy need. The only cheese I added was at the end, as a garnish (always a necessity in my house when it comes to pasta). The sauce added an incredible flavor and had a wonderful consistency. And no wonder. It’s a rich sauce filled with five organic cheese varieties: romano, parmesan, asiago, provolone, and fontina. All favorites for me.
I love that the pasta sauces are made from sun-ripened, California-grown organic tomatoes and are lightly cooked in olive oil with other organic flavors, which to me, really locks in the layers of flavor for a bright, fresh taste. I swear, even the most particular marinara connoisseurs will not know whether this sauce was made from scratch or came out of a jar. It tastes that good, guys. And the fact that it is organic is a major bonus for me, as I’m always striving to eat as organically as possible, especially with a young child in the house.
I loved the sauce so much that I have partnered up with Bertolli® to offer one reader free product to try! Hopefully with these ricotta pillows! They really are a match made in heaven. The deets are below.
My husband, who is well versed in these ricotta pillows, loved the addition of the Bertolli® sauce here. He said it was one of the best batches I’d ever made. And I have to agree with him. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and all.
If you’re looking for a last-minute meal to serve your Valentine, this one is definitely the one. It’s easy and totally doable on a Tuesday and is very impressive (you can say that you made homemade ravioli! Even if you didn’t make the pasta itself! Totally still counts). It tastes like comfort and cheese. What says “romance” more than cheese? Hah. Just kidding. Sorta.
It’s definitely worthy of being counted as one of the dishes I’m passionate about. It’s a special one, guys.
THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
Bertolli® is giving away a suite of their new organic pasta sauces (check them all out here) to one of my readers FOR FREE! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post by 5 PM EST on Monday, February 20, 2017. I’ll choose a winner at random. The winner will be notified by email, so please make sure the email address on your comment is accurate!
1 package wonton wrappers
2 cups whole milk ricotta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 oz pancetta, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallots, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 (15-oz) can of diced tomatoes
½ cup dry vermouth
1 cup Bertolli® Organic Five Cheese Tomato Sauce
½ cup half-and-half (or cream!)
¼ cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Mix together the ricotta, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Place a teaspoon-sized dollop of the mixture on each wonton wrapper. Brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water, and pinch together to form a purse shape around the filling. Have fun with it and don’t worry about making it too perfect; as long as the edges are well sealed around the filling, you’re good to go. It’s homemade and supposed to look rustic! Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet until you are ready to cook them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer while making the sauce.
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add in the pancetta and cook until crisped, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
To the drippings, add the butter, shallot, and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
Add in the tomatoes and vermouth and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add in the the Bertolli® sauce, half-and-half, chopped herbs, and crisped pancetta to the pot. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and keep warm until ready to serve.
Cook the ricotta pasta in the pot of simmering (not full-on boiling!) water, in batches, for 1-2 minutes or until they float to the top of the water. Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the sauce, tossing to coat well. Serve immediately garnished with grated parmesan cheese and herbs.
I recommend cooking the wonton pasta as you need it. Often times, when I make "ravioli" this way, I'll form them all at once and keep them well wrapped in the fridge until I need them. I will only cook what we plan to eat in one sitting, keeping the rest in the fridge. This ensures the best taste and texture of the pasta. The formed pasta will keep in the fridge for a couple days.
[This post is brought to you by Bertolli® organic pasta sauces. All opinions, of course, are my own. Thank you all so much for reading and supporting the blog! You have no idea how much it means to me.]
UPDATE AS OF 2/20/17, 5 PM EST: THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED AT RANDOM AND WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. Thanks everyone for your participation and support!