Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini

I don't know why we do this to ourselves, but so far, every time we've had to submit something for a blog event, we almost tear our hair out trying to come up with something "different"... or so we think.

It was no different for Wandering Chopsticks' Weekend Wokking event. The theme: tomato. (All info at the bottom of the post.)

We were torn: should we do something very simple? I mean, that is the best way to showcase the natural beauty and flavors of the tomato. I was tempted just to blog about a really ripe tomato sprinkled with coarse salt!

But then, if we do something simple, how are we to gain our blog-street-cred? ;)

I thought we could do something like a tomato and blue cheese souffle. I love tomatoes and blue cheese together. TS might have done a souffle before, but never in my life have I attempted one. Of course, we would have to buy ramekins to indulge in my souffle fantasies, which would require a shopping trip.

Nah, maybe next time. TS does not like blue cheese anyways.

We didn't end up with something super-simple, but I don't believe this was too complicated, either. We took inspiration from the classic Insalata Caprese and made, what we like to call...

Ravioli "Caprese"

To begin, I got the simple things out of the way.

Balsamic Reduction

I know, I know. Balsamic vinegar is not traditionally part of a Caprese salad. It goes so well with tomatoes, though! Plus, it's quite useful to have around to add to other dishes. (We used leftover reduction here, as a matter of fact.) The reduction is basically simmering some balsamic vinegar until it becomes syrupy.

Basil and Parsley Oil

I quickly blanched some parsley stems along with the basil then drained them. Into the blender the herbs went along with some olive oil. The more herbs to olive oil, the more potent the result. Of course, there's this straining business: I lined our big-holed strainer/sieve with a coffee filter and let it drip... drip... drip...

Now, for the Fresh Tomato Pasta.

We made the pasta tomato-y by adding a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to 6 eggs and 5 cups of flour.

The filling: roast tomatoes, basil leaves and bocconcini

We decided to roast the tomatoes in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, to concentrate their flavors and to prevent the filling from being too watery. Onto the pasta sheets went a basil leaf, a slice of roasted tomato, and one of these mini bocconcini. And a sprinkle of salt, of course.

Here they are all in a row.

I had the hardest time trying to keep out air of these ravioli. Those bocconcini are so bulbous!!! I was just hoping and hoping that the filling was actually sealed in.

They look like little heads under blankets. Very round heads, like those heads of chess-piece pawns.

Here they are ready for cooking.

For some texture contrast, I decided not only to boil the pasta, but to pan-fry them to crisp up their bottoms as well.

The top, the bottom and the interior.

To plate, we started with the basil & parsley oil, then simply piled up the ravioli, garnished with a slice of roast tomato and a basil leaf, then drizzled the plate with our balsamic reduction.

What's not to like here? Fresh pasta, roasted tomatoes, basil, and bocconcini. These are my simple pleasures in life.

The pan-frying was a good idea, because it provided a much-needed texture contrast to the melting ooey-gooey goodness of the cheese. Admittedly, the pasta did not really taste "tomato-ey," but the roasted tomatoes more than filled the tomato void.

Basil and balsamic. That might be a good name for a blog, don't you think? ;)

The flavour combinations are so classically perfect together that it is hard to think of another way to make it better. There is no messing about with a caprese salad. In this case, we just played around with the components and presented in what we hope is a playfully serious fashion.

Here is the ravioli caprese again:


Another shot:

Still delicious.

eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways

We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is
Blazing Hot Wok.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.


  1. My goodness, what a dish! I started off thinking, yup, tomato with sea salt would be a wonderful post. But as I read your wonderful wonderful recipe it drew me in. I love it. I don't do eggs, so I would find some alternative wrappers, probably from the Chinese Grocery. And frying them was in inspiration. Love it all.

    PS thanks for visiting my blog so I could find yours.

  2. What a nicely executed dish! Wow!

    I haven't made ravioli yet, but it is coming. We'll I did make it from scratch at a Whole Paycheck cooking seminar and we too pan fried them after the initial blanche. Pumkin ravioli with brown butter and sage, we made.

    This dish is officially on my short list.

  3. these photos are all mesmerizing!! beautifully delicious!! i feel exactly like you girls when i participate in any blog events;;what a dilemna :-)

    ps, thanks for making me discover this blog event!!i'll definitely give it try

  4. I feel so hungry looking at the photos! Is there any way to air mail some over? :P The food presentation is beautiful~

  5. Great photos...even better ingredients...food porn lives here my friends.

  6. WOW! This looks great! and very creative!

  7. Your pictures are awesome! Your Pasta Ravioli is Beautiful! And the way you cook it is SUPER!!!!!!! Wow! I'm impressed :D. What a great combination and the sauce.... amazing, great job!

  8. And I was short in my my first comment ;-)

  9. oh yummy! that has to be the most perfect meal in the world. homemade pasta, roasted tomatoes, cheese, basil, pan fried. oh lord, i need some of that!

  10. Oh wow! I love everything about this. All my favorite ingredients. So inventive. Although, I would have been happy with ripe tomatoes and sprinkled with coarse salt too. ;)

  11. such amazing colours and textures. You did the perfect amount - classic flavors for a tomato, but nothing to funked up - you are right, you don't mess with tomatoes :D

    This looks great.. I have never been that happy with fried ravioli, but I would happily give this a go! Personally, I might have got some texture from toasted pine nuts, but this looks too gorgeous to pass up!

  12. That really looks fantastic! I would love a plate of it right this second! Those photos are stunning too, you guys!

  13. Wow! What a fantastic treatment for tomatoes!

  14. Oh my gosh!!! I want this so bad!!

  15. These are a work of art! Great job, guys. Although you do have me intrigued about a tomato and blue cheese soufle. Can't wait to see that one. :)

  16. oh gawd! this looks heavenly!

  17. Wow that looks amazing. Great presentation!

  18. This is really impressive. I need to try making that fresh tomato pasta -- nice orange color on it.

  19. oh!! you show us the amazing photo step by step!.1 love it! I never attempt to make my own italian pasta yet!.maybe looking at your photo and your effort will motivate my lazy bone to try once!good job!!

  20. Such patience! Such creativity! Wow! (drool...)

  21. Wow--that looks amazing. Great pics! I'm just impressed that you have the patience to make handmade pasta. Kudos!

  22. stunning! it's like a grilled cheese ravioli. this is absolutely lovely! great, creative idea to stuff w/t he bocconcini.

  23. From tomato sprinkled with coarse salt to this ravioli caprese....leaps and bounds in a matter of minutes! This is awesome!

  24. Stunning!! What a wonderful detailed post. They look delicious.

  25. This looks delicious! And really, really beautiful. Love it!

  26. WOW! I would have loved to see a ripe tomato with coarse salt, but this dish is way beyond delicious looking. I've always loved balsamic on a caprese salad...even if its not 'traditional.'

    Great post!

  27. Wow, a mozzarella stick can just go eat its heart out! That looks effing amazing. I love the idea of tomato pasta.

  28. Great blog ladies. My first visit. I love this dish with the thick baslamic reduction, homemade ravioli, the boccoancini. Really outstanding.

  29. What a brilliant idea! I love everything about it!! My family would devour these!

  30. That ravioli looks so good! Nice photos.

  31. Wow! This looks delicious - great job on the photos too.

  32. I make my caprese with balsamic drizzled over the top. I did not realize that it was not traditional to do this, as I used to work in a restaurant that served it this way too. Traditional or not, it's the balsamic that makes the salad. As for this ravioli...o my goodness where do I start? It looks absolutely delicious! Homemade pasta is on my to-do list. Thanks for the inspiration.

  33. What an absolutely lovely dish! I definitely have to make these. And your photos are amazing! I can almost taste the ravioli!

  34. Fabulous! I love the colors.
    And ooh one of those fried ones is calling my name.

  35. Oh my holy gosh these look amazing. Definitely on the menu for next week.

  36. Thanks all!

    I guess things *can* be accomplished if we decide to ignore our lack-of-industry habit. ;D

    Hehe. I don't think we could've pulled off a tomato + salt post, because our photography isn't up to snuff. Wouldn't be able to capture those salt grains, I think.

    Oooh, pumpkin ravioli w/ Brown butter & sage! [drool]

    Haha, I'm still a *little* hesitant about the tomato and blue cheese souffle. That pesky blue cheese! For a different cheese, perhaps it can happen.

    We Are Never Full:
    Oh yeah! That could be an alternate name: "Grilled Cheese Ravioli". Hehe.

    Thanks to Wandering Chopsticks for the starting this event!

  37. really stellar pasta dish
    restaurant presentation
    all that work paid off
    i'd be thrilled with a plate of those for dinner, lunch or breakfast, brunch, lunner,dunch - you name it.

  38. gorgeous photos! Wow, this recipe looks amazing


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