Living on dining hall food, microwavable macaroni and cheese, and boxes of cheap ramen isn’t quite the experience that most students expect when looking forward to college. But it’s the ugly truth. This was especially dissatisfying for aspiring foodie Rebecca Lando.
Showcasing her belief that people deserve quality food at low prices (especially on the budget of a college student), first as a blogger, Lando has now shared 100 simple and cheap recipes in her new book, "The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 Per Person."
Lando’s cookbook brings several elegant meals into the kitchen with simple recipes, and surprisingly cheaply.
While it may sound intimidating, ricotta ravioli in brown butter with sage can be made with just $4.28 in 10 simple steps. Here's the recipe:
Recipe: Ricotta ravioli in brown butter with sage
A light filling of ricotta mixed with egg and Parmesan and just kissed with a pinch of nutmeg makes for an elegant and filling dinner. Once filled, ravioli can be spread out and frozen on a baking sheet dusted with coarse cornmeal or polenta, then transferred to zip-top bags and frozen for up to 3 months. Like other fresh frozen pastas, the ravioli can go straight into the boiling water, no thawing necessary.
A half recipe of Basic Pasta Dough will make 12 good-size ravioli, or enough for two entrées or three or four appetizers. Make the full recipe, though, and freeze half of your ravioli; the extra few minutes of work now will mean a quick dinner on another night.
Serves 4 as a main or 6 to 8 as a side or appetizer.
1 recipe basic pasta dough (page 51)
3 large eggs
3⁄4 cup homemade ricotta (page 59)
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 whole fresh sage leaves
1. Make the Basic Pasta Dough, and divide it into three pieces. On a clean, floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough, elongating it as you go. Continue dividing it into sections if it becomes too long for your work surface. Roll out until the dough is just thick enough not to be translucent, then trim off any raggedy edges and let rest under a damp paper towel. Repeat this rolling and dividing until all your dough is rolled out and trimmed.
2. Whisk one of the eggs in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Set aside.
3. Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil.
4. In a medium bowl, beat the remaining two eggs. Fold in the ricotta, add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Fold in about 1⁄4 cup Parmesan; taste and adjust. The filling should be thick and tasty, not pastelike or watery. Set aside.
5. On your floured work surface, set out the pasta sheets one at a time. Make a crease widthwise in the center of each pasta sheet.
6. Hold your left index and middle fingers together and set them at the right edge of the crease in the center of your pasta sheet (switch “right” for “left” and vice versa if you’re left-handed). Place about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling to one side of your fingers, then move your fingers to the other side of the filling. The idea is that you’re using your fingers to evenly space out the ravioli. Repeat until one entire side of your pasta sheet is dotted evenly with the filling, leaving a two-finger space at the end of the sheet. Leave the other half of your pasta sheet blank. Repeat on the remaining pasta sheets: Crease and add filling evenly spaced on one side until all the filling is used or you run out of pasta.
7. Using your fingers, wipe the egg wash thinly along the borders of the ravioli, painting a box around each scoop of filling. Carefully fold the empty half of each pasta sheet over to the filling side and seal each ravioli, pushing out air bubbles as you go. As with cased sausage, air pockets in your ravioli could cause bursting in the boiling water, resulting in a very sad state of affairs after all your hard work. (Boiled ricotta is not appetizing, I promise you.)
8. Salt your boiling water. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium- high heat until it melts and browns; add the sage leaves and turn the heat down to medium.9. Separate the ravioli with a knife or bench scraper. Check again to make sure they’re all sealed and air-pocket-free. Gently slide the ravioli into the water in batches of 4 to 6. Stir once or twice to keep the ravioli from sticking and cook until they float, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the ravioli to the pan with the brown butter using a slotted spoon and toss together, adding pasta water in 1⁄4-cup increments until the sauce thickens and sticks to the ravioli.
10. Plate six ravioli and two sage leaves per person as a main or 3 to 4 ravioli and a sage leaf as an appetizer or side, drizzled with the brown butter and dusted with Parmesan and a sprinkle of salt and a grinding or two of black pepper.