If you have been following my blog, then it would be not a surprise for me to say I have been making a LOT of ravioli lately. After all, I did make three types of ravioli filling for Pasta Fest and another filling when I made gluten free ravioli.
Sometimes you might happen to plan things perfectly and have just the right amount of filling, like I did with the chicken pesto ravioli. The chances are, though, that you might end up with various amounts of extra ravioli filling. The question is what to do with all that filling so it doesn’t go to waste.
Of course, you can freeze extra ravioli filling for future ravioli making, though I wouldn’t do this if you used any water-heavy vegetables in your filling. I decided, however, to make use of them in other ways instead of freezing them.
My first idea was to turn my ravioli filling into the filling for stuffed shells. This is another dish that my family would frequent for dinner growing up. I am not kidding when I say we ate some type of pasta about 3-4 days a week. Those are the joys of growing up in an Italian household. So, I guess this dish was inspired by my childhood memories in some way.
You can really stuff just about any creamy, cheesy filling inside of jumbo shells and they will be delicious. I chose the filling from the mushroom ravioli because it had a good substance that could withstand the heat of the oven during cooking. It was made of cooked and seasoned mushrooms, shredded fontina, shredded parmesan, and ricotta cheese.
First, I cooked the jumbo shells until they were just al dente. You can follow the directions on the box of your pasta, but I like to judge based on how the pasta looks and feels. Remember, that the shells will continue to cook in the oven.
To assemble, I spread some tomato sauce (that I had previously made and had stored in the fridge) to coat the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. I then stuffed each shell with a spoonful of ravioli filling and placed them in the casserole dish until it was full. I probably could have squeezed more in there, but I ran out of filling after 16 shells. I then spooned more sauce over top and sprinkled shredded Italian blend cheese over top. You could also just use shredded mozzarella. Finally, I had just a bit of extra filling from my cheese ravioli (which was a mix of ricotta and Italian cheese blend) so I dolloped that filling on top of the sauce here and there to add another creamy element. I baked this at 350 for about 25-30 minutes (until the cheese and sauce were bubbling).
The resulting dish was fantastic! I got a tasty dinner for Sunday night, and then I had plenty of leftovers for lunches throughout the week. I probably got a good four meals out of this dish. The filling was creamy and delicious, and this was an easy way to make sure I got my fill of vegetables.
Prior to making this dish, I had already used up a bit of the mushroom filling with another idea that came to me. I bought a container of Pillsbury crescent rolls to make creamy mushroom rolls. These were super simple to make and could be a good accompaniment for your dinner.
I took each crescent triangle and spooned some filling inside (not too much or it will make a mess when cooking). I rolled them up and placed them on a baking sheet and baked them according to the package directions. Because of the filling, you might need to leave them in a couple extra minutes. Just watch for them to turn brown.
It is okay if the filling spills through the rolls a little bit during cooking, but generally you want them to stay in tact. In general, I wouldn’t recommend doing this with something that is just a lot of creamy cheese (like my ricotta filling) but with something more of substance (like this one with mushrooms or something with some meat) this could be a fun and easy way to use that leftover filling.
Some other ideas I had were to add some of the filling to a pot of cooked pasta. If you add the creamy fillings to the pasta while it is still hot with some olive oil and butter, you can make an instant creamy sauce for your pasta.
You could also stuff them inside just about any kind of dough: puff pastry, pizza dough, bread dough, etc and bake them in the oven for another kinds of creamy bread. You could add them as pizza toppings or use the more creamy ones as the base to your pizza instead of sauce. The ideas are limitless! I will have to test out some of these other ideas next time.
I really hate wasting food, so I am just glad that I found a good use for my leftover ravioli filling. These dishes were tasty and easy to make. It is cool to see how you can take one elements of one dish and turn them into something completely different.