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. My mom would often make stuffed shells for the family, and my cheese ravioli filling is very similar to what my mom used to stuff her pasta shells. This dish was inspired by my childhood memories.
You can really stuff just about any creamy, cheesy filling inside of jumbo shells and they will be delicious. I used my mushroom ravioli filling (mushrooms with fontina, parmesan, and ricotta cheeses) because I thought this would make a nice savory dish inside the pasta shells.
First, I cooked the jumbo shells until they were just al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven. To assemble, I spread some tomato sauce 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. 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).
This is a great way to stretch leftovers into a whole other meal. Paired with a light salad, I had myself a comforting Sunday meal with leftovers to last for work lunches this week. The creamy filling reminded me of my childhood but with the added earthiness of the mushrooms.
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 or served as an appetizer at a dinner party.
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 on the edges. The result is a dinner roll with a fun surprise inside.
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 make ravioli.
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.