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Insane to bake homemade ravioli?

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My family's tradition is to do Cioppino for Christmas each year. I am hosting Christmas dinner for my Italian in laws and will be making Cioppino, sourdough, and a caesar salad. My mother in law (picky) doesn't like Cioppino(more for us!). I have verified that she does in fact like ravioli, and I am very comfortable with making them, but I know that homemade ravioli tend to be more delicate than storebought, and I do not want to be boiling them off for her right before we sit down to eat. Would it be insane to boil them ahead of time, shock them in cool water, then layer in a casserole with a tomato sauce, then pop it in the oven to warm through before dinner? Would it be totally crazy to even bother with making them from scratch at that point?

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  1. don't know how picky she is? lol, but that might get mushy sitting in sauce in a warm oven.

    when i make them, i make and freeze individually on a sheet pan, then dump in a bag, so i can pull out however many i need. drop in boiling water still frozen. slowly bring back to a simmer. once the ravs rise to the top they are cooked.

    your call if you want to do something so a la minute.

    is there another baked pasta dish, like ziti or manicotti you can make a small pan of for her? or a bigger batch of something like linguine aglio et olio, that others might want to share so she's not singled out with a special meal?

    1. I think it would be fine but a lot more work than just boiling them at the last minute, but skip the shocking. Just remove them from the water slightly underdone. But really, boiling ravioli for one person is no work at all. Have a warm soup plate ready with some melted butter, then lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon or spider strainer straight into the butter. Sprinkle with parmigiano and you're done. Skip the tomato sauce too. You could heat some sage leaves in the butter ahead of time.

      13 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        My mother in law is very specific about how she likes to eat, and prefers ravioli with a tomato sauce. She also drinks instant coffee and likes cool whip if that is any indication of how she likes her food.

        1. re: LaureltQ

          lol. than buy frozen ravs and save yourself the bother.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Yeah, I am beginning to feel as though that may be the most reasonable option. Any brand suggestion? I don't recall ever having bought ravioli before.

            1. re: LaureltQ

              sorry, i haven't bought them in many years.

              good luck!

              1. re: LaureltQ

                Are you a Costco member? They sell a "Pasta Prima" brand grilled chicken and mozzarella ravioli that is very good. They are in the open refrigerator cases but I keep in the freezer for a quick meal for myself. Takes 6 minutes from frozen in boiling water. Then I just heat up the sauce in the same pan the ravioli was in (after I've dumped in a colander) and then toss the ravioli back in. Done!

                1. re: LaureltQ

                  The refridgerated section of whole foods has a decent selection, their own brand is good and if you see rising moon ravioli the artichoke is great. If she's that adventurous ;)

                  1. re: LaureltQ

                    Actually Buitoni four cheese ravioli and marinara sauce might work perfectly. They are in the refrigerator section of most large supermarkets and have a "home made" taste IMHO and I have made my own from scratch too.

                    1. re: LaureltQ

                      Scaramuzza ravioli (frozen) are delicious.

                    2. re: hotoynoodle

                      Seriously! Don't waste your talents and time if it goes unappreciated.....

                    3. re: LaureltQ

                      Your mother in law sound typical of her generation . Dont take it so personally . Ask her how she came to love her favorites and i bet she can tell you of good times she had with her friends over those meals .This reminded me so much of my deceased mother in law , they were being "modern" . There is no point in trying to change a senior citizens in grained habits . And let me tell you , her cool whip desserts were adored by many friends and family .......

                      1. re: saltylady

                        I'm not taking it personally, it's just one of those "things" with her. She claims that she can't tell the difference between instant and real coffee, and instant is cheaper and easier. She also prefers her chicken destroyed. When I cook for her, I make all of the food, pull the chicken off to rest, then continue to cook hers til I slice and serve the rest of the chicken, at which point it's blackened and dry, and she is happy.

                        I do not try to change her preferences, she has them and that's on her. I don't take any of her food advice or choices personally, I just count on having to feed her something a little different than the rest of the adventurous and appreciative family, like you may have to do for a toddler.

                        1. re: LaureltQ

                          I have a friend who "loves" coffee. She claims to be a coffee connoisseur. One day I suggested we go out for breakfast while the kids were in school. She suggested I come over and she'll make instant, as she doesn't care for brewed coffee.

                          This mom is also a takeout/chicken nugget/ assemble dinner not cook dinner person

                      2. re: LaureltQ

                        Instant coffee with coolwhip a la mode????

                    4. Under cook them ahead but do not put them in the sauce.
                      Heat the Sauce in a skillet add the cooked Ravioli and simmer a minute or two and serve. It takes 2 min. to do.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chefj

                        This seems like an easy way to go. I think that's the trick!

                        1. re: LaureltQ

                          That works. I've done it for company using frozen ravioli. (Cheese filling)

                          I also make a baked casserole version, which everyone raves about. It's basically undercooked ravioli, marinara sauce, ricotta, gently mixed and baked with cheese on top

                      2. Is she someone who will appreciate homemade ravioli? If yes then there are some nice suggestions here. If not, don't waste the often.

                        1. Since it appears she does not have a discriminating palate, she might be pleased to eat the dish below. At least, this may give you some idea. Hope everything goes well.

                          Baked Ravioli

                          1 pound ground beef, chicken, turkey or Italian sausage
                          1 27.5-ounce pkg frozen beef or cheese ravioli
                          1 28-oz to 32-oz jar tomato and basil marinara sauce
                          2 cup shredded Mozarella cheese (can also omit and liberally sprinkle Parmesan on top)

                          Brown ground meat. Mix all ingredients together in a very large bowl, then place in a 9 X 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350˚ for 35 minutes. Uncover; add more cheese on top. Turn oven off and replace ravioli in oven for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Wtg2Retire

                            PERFECT. That is literally EXACTLY what I was imagining for her, minus the meat.

                          2. Will she eat lasagna, manicotti or stuffed shells? You can use store bought noodles but make your own fillings and sauce. I would make a dish that all can share rather than singling out your MIL. Unless, of course, she is the type that feels "special" when she is singled out.

                            What was the Christmas tradition in your husband's family when he was growing up? Maybe make something that is part of their tradition, in addition to your family's traditional Cioppino.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Springhaze2

                              I'll probably end up making a whole casserole of storebought baked ravioli now, so everyone can enjoy it's mediocrity. She will be perfectly happy to have been catered to, and I will get points for making something "for her." I imagine she'll snub the caesar salad due to the anchovies in the dressing. Joke's on her.

                              1. re: LaureltQ

                                You might want to put the salad dressing on the side and find out what her favorite bottled salad dressing is.

                                My father is a very fussy eater, we always had to cater to him, by making a few extra dishes during the holidays. I used to get so frustrated with that when the holidays were at my house. He is now almost 90 years old and am thankful for the days I get to cook for him. It is the holidays, after all.

                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                  Bah, I suppose you're right. I know that she likes a simple balsamic/evoo vinaigrette, it just doesn't seem fancy enough for christmas dinner. I suppose I can make a thingy of the balsamic and a thingy of caesar.

                                  1. re: LaureltQ

                                    Why/how is Caesar dressing more "fancy" than a nice aged balsamic/high quality evoo vinaigrette? Some people just prefer a simply dressed salad. Personally, I would choose the vinaigrette and freshly ground black pepper.

                                    1. re: Springhaze2

                                      I don't think it is fancier but the homemade classic Caesar is a lovely thing. Just made my first last night and if you didn't know about the anchovies you might not realize.

                                    2. re: LaureltQ

                                      I usually put out two bowls of salad, each one dressed differently. Makes everyone happy a

                              2. I do some minor catering and made fresh pasta for a family gathering and some family members who eat like your MIL didn't like it at all texture-wise. Just FYI. I think homemade would be a lot of work for nothing.

                                They also insisted on Heinz jarred gravy at Tgiving. My gravy is killer.