So, I’m a few years past 30 and I met my nemesis the other day. I always thought it would be a machine-gun-toting dragon or a robot with a handlebar mustache and monocle. But no, my nemesis, as it turns out, is a recipe for butternut squash Ravioli found in Good Housekeeping (March 2009). Looking back on it, the dinner should have turned out fine. I’m looking down at the recipe and I’m seeing phrases like “Cheater’s guide to Ravioli”, “Active time: 30 minutes”, and “cut the prep time by more than an hour”. Hmm…I’m actually thinking about getting up and trying it again.
In one regard the Ravioli experiment of ’09 was a success…we ate it and didn’t go for takeout afterward. Other than that the Ravioli was a disastrous debacle. I started to get slightly nervous when the recipe told me to separate an egg white. I know, I know…it’s easy and I didn’t have too much trouble (I got it on the second egg). I really started to sweat it when the recipe called for a paint brush. I thought to myself, “Well crap, that’s the end of that recipe. I don’t have a paintbrush in my kitchen drawers.” About that time my wife came in and asked how it was going. I informed her of my dilemma. Two minutes later my wife had produced a clean, brand-new paintbrush that was just the right size. Recipe back on.
This next part was easy. I placed the Ravioli stuffing in the center of a wonton noodle square, painted egg white along the edges and then placed another wonton square on top. Bam! homemade Ravioli! I placed the finished Ravioli squares on a baking sheet to dry for 30 mins. A few of the wonton squares split open slightly due to excessive stuffing, but I was thinking, all-in-all, things are going pretty well. I waited for the Raviolis to dry.
The next part got pretty dicey. I began boiling some water for the noodles. Once the water was boiling I started scrapping Ravioli’s off of the baking sheets and became frustrated by the fact that some of the Ravioli’s had stuck to the pan and were coming apart upon scrape off. Argh! but oh well…time for the next bit of the recipe: browning butter.
Note to self: recipes with words like “meanwhile” denote recipes of some advancement. While the Ravioli was boiling I started browning butter and slicing sage to place in the buttery mixture. Once the butter was browned and ready, I began to remove the Ravioli from the boiling water one at a time, draining each one and then placing the Raviolis in the butter mixture to coat them with delicious buttery sage sauce.
Everything sort of disintegrated to oblivion when I tried to transfer the noodles out of the boiling water. Many of the Raviolis had fallen apart and had lost their stuffing in the water. In addition, I didn’t really have a good tool for getting the Ravioli out of the water and burnt my hand a time or two. Also, I hadn’t made enough of the butter mixture to accommodate my many Ravioli pieces. Consequently, several of the Raviolis we ate didn’t have the proper nummy taste I was hoping for. When all of the Ravioli and Ravioli pieces had been transferred to our plates we each had an unappetizing pile of limp wonton noodle slop.
Eating through the concoction I had just made, there were moments where I could taste potential, but for the most part it wasn’t all that great and the rest of the family agreed. In regards to my cooking endeavors, I feel like I took too many steps forward and am now thinking about taking a few steps back. I foresee peanut butter sandwiches, warmed up chicken nuggets and hot dogs in my near future. Maybe at some point I’ll take on this adversary again, but for now I’m going to retreat to safer terrain. Hitting a new culinary low, I wrote a limerick to commemorate my butternut squash Ravioli disaster.
I gave Ravioli a try
I ended up starting to cry
the noodles all broke
and spilled out their yoke
Next time I’ll eat ham on rye – Cabé