[Updated 11/23/16 – I’ve added celery seed and vinegar powder to the chicken filling to get even more of that great Buffalo Chicken flavor. Vinegar powder is available from Amazon.]
Saturday I perfected my Toasted Buffalo Chicken Ravioli recipe. It took me four tries to get it right, but it was worth the effort. They’re spicy and crunchy. Paired with my home made blue cheese dressing, they are awesome.
Next time there’s a big sports party in the neighborhood, I’m bringing these. (Yes, I know the NCAA championship was tonight. I don’t like basketball, so that doesn’t count.)
The recipe for these is actually very simple. The hardest part of developing this dish was getting the texture of the chicken right and figuring out a way to highlight the combination of Frank’s hot sauce and blue cheese, when not everyone in my family likes blue cheese.
For this batch, I decided to leave the blue cheese out of the ravioli entirely. Instead, I beefed up the blue cheese content of the dressing. That way I get all the blue cheese bite I want and the rest of the family can eat theirs with Ranch dressing.
Ranch dressing on Buffalo anything? It’s sacrilege, I know. The things we do for family.
I started by dicing two ribs of celery and sauteing it in butter. Then I skinned the chicken thighs.
I saved the skin, thinking I would make chicharrons to crumble over the blue cheese dressing. I ran out of time though, so I’ll try that with the next batch.
I salted and peppered the thighs generously and browned them in a cast iron skillet. Then finished them in a 350° F oven.
After they cooled enough to handle, I pulled the meat from the bones and diced it finely. About 1/4 to 1/8″ pieces. You don’t want any big lumps. Those would make it hard to fill the ravioli.
Then I mixed the diced meat and celery with Frank’s hot sauce. That’s all there is to the filling.
I recommend making this the day before. Making the pasta dough, filling the ravioli and frying them takes a lot of time. If you try to do all this in one evening (like I did), you’re going to be eating late.
I used the pasta dough recipe I learned from Craftsy’s Homemade Pasta class taught by Giuliano Hazan. It was much more helpful than the hands-on class I took at Sur la Table. That class was crowded and rushed.
I’ve also taken Craftsy’s Artisan Bread class taught by Peter Reinhart. Both were very good. I recommend them. I was worried that an on-line class won’t work for something like handling dough, just because it is so dependent on feel. But both classes were very helpful.
Buy them when they’re on sale and both of them will only set you back 40 bucks.
If you don’t want to spend that, there are a ton of ravioli videos on YouTube. This one is pretty thorough.
The dough is just flour and eggs, kneaded together.
You can use your stand mixer or food processor for this.
I do it by hand. I have enough automatic stuff in my life. It’s nice to take the time to do something by hand every now and then.
Either way, you’ll end up with enough dough to make many raviolis.
After letting the dough rest, I rolled it out using the pasta roller attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer and used my ravioli form to fill the pasta. Using the form keeps the ravioli a uniform size and shape. That makes it easier to fry them consistently.
Make sure you pack the cups of the form tightly with the filling. Any air trapped in the ravioli will expand as soon as they hit the fryer, causing the ravioli to balloon up.
Once the filling and dough are ready to go, it doesn’t take long to fill dozens of ravioli.
I used an egg wash and Italian bread crumb breading. Sorry, no pictures of that. It’s very hard to operate the camera when your hands are covered in breading.
I used my Dutch oven to fry them. They cook quickly, only about a minute or so.
Recipe – Approximately 36 ravioli. Serves 6 to 10 as appatizers
2 ribs celery, diced into 1/8″ pieces
2 TBS unsalted butter
4 Chicken thighs, skinned
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce
1 tsp celery seed
1 TBS vinegar powder
2 TBS vegetable oil
5 eggs, room temperature, divided
11 1/2 oz (approx. 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
Saute celery in butter, over medium heat, until celery is slightly softened. About 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
Season the thighs with salt and pepper.
In an oven proof skillet, heat oil over medium high until almost smoking. Add chicken. Saute thighs until very well browned. About 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side. Thighs should stick to skillet at first, but release from pan when they are browned.
Transfer thighs to oven. Bake until thighs hit internal temperature of 160° F.
Remove thighs from pan and allow to cool.
Remove meat from thighs and dice to 1/4″ to 1/8″ chunks. Mix with Frank’s, celery, celery seed and vinegar powder.
This step can be completed the day before.
Using 3 eggs and flour make the pasta dough with which ever method you’re most comfortable with.
Allow dough to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Using a pasta rolling machine, roll out to thin sheets a little more than twice the length of your ravioli form. On my Kitchenaid, setting 6 is about right.
Stuff filling to form 1 1/2″ ravioli.
Whisk remaining 2 eggs in a flat, shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
One at a time, dip ravioli into egg. Shake excess egg from ravioli and coat completely with bread crumbs. Place ravioli on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Heat oil in an electric fryer or heavy deep pot to 325° F. If using a pot, use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Working in small batches (4 to 6 pieces), fry the ravioli until golden brown. About 60 seconds. Flip ravioli about half way through frying.
Serve with homemade blue cheese dressing or (shudder) Ranch.