Kids often think they will not like this because the sun-dried tomatoes look so strange. But the fact is they are sweet, and so is the ricotta cheese, in a very delicate way. The ravioli filling is luscious, and you’ll be adding both vitamin C and calcium to your kids’ diet in one fell swoop.
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- Kosher salt
To prepare and serve the ravioli:
- One 12-ounce package wonton wrappers or homemade pasta dough
- Cornmeal or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- pesto or marinara sauce, optional
Equipment: Cookie cutters
1. To prepare the filling, fill a small saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, cover the pot with a lid, and remove it from the heat. Let the tomatoes sit until softened, 6 to 12 minutes, depending on the tomatoes. Help the children feel the sun-dried tomatoes for softness - parents should transfer one tomato to a cutting board and make sure it is cooled before the children touch it. Drain the tomatoes in a colander or with a slotted spoon.
2. Let older children help you roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Mix the tomatoes and ricotta cheese in a small mixing bowl. Season the mixture with kosher salt to taste.
3. To fill and cook the ravioli using packaged dough, unwrap the wonton wrappers and remove about 8 sheets. (Note: Fresh pasta, including wonton dough, dries out quickly, so you will want to have your choice of filling ready at this time.) Cover the remaining squares with a cloth and reserve. Have your children select a pastry cutter or cookie cutter 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Cut out the desired ravioli shapes. Place on a cookie sheet in pairs and cover with a towel. The wonton skins are now ready to be filled. To fill the ravioli using homemade dough, sprinkle some flour on a clean countertop or table. Cut the dough into quarters and form one of the quarters into a ball and set on the table. Wrap the others in plastic and set aside.
Using a floured rolling pin, begin rolling the dough very thin. When it is approximately 1/8-inch thick, you can begin to let the children cut out shapes with cookie cutters. For efficiency’s sake, supervise them closely so they cut the shapes close together to get the most impressions possible. Make sure they cut doubles of each shape, so they will have a top and bottom for each ravioli. Once they have used up the dough with shapes, fill as directed in Step 4. Then repeat this step until all the dough has been rolled and cut; excess dough can be reincorporated into one of the quarters each time.
4. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal or cornstarch and set aside. Let the kids use a pastry brush to paint a line of egg wash "glue" on the edges of the ravioli. Using a spoon, place filling into the center of one piece of cutout dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin along the edges. Press an identically shaped piece of dough over the one with filling and egg wash.
5. Show the children how to carefully pinch the 2 pieces of dough together, making sure the filling does not ooze out. A fork can also be used to crimp the edges closed, which is easier for most small children. Place the finished ravioli under a towel on the prepared baking sheet, keeping them separate to prevent sticking.
6. Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to boil. Add the oil and a little salt. Carefully place the ravioli in the pot. After a few minutes, very carefully remove one piece of ravioli with a slotted spoon and test for doneness. They’re done when the pasta is still slightly chewy don’t cook too long or they will fall apart.
7. Serve with pesto sauce or another sauce your family enjoys, or serve them with just a little butter and Parmesan cheese.