Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Will It Waffle #1: Toasted Cheese Wavioli

Welcome to my very first Will It Waffle post!  I came upon Daniel Shumski's cookbook Will It Waffle a few months ago (he also has a blog) when I first made Cheddar Bacon Potato Waffles, and was immediately intrigued.  Shumski has posted several of his recipes in assorted places on the internet, and they all looked really good to me.  I had the chance to flip through the book at a book store and was no less intrigued.  Rarely have I seen a cookbook that I wanted to make almost everything from!  This inspired me to attempt to make every recipe from Will It Waffle, and post about each one.  My interest in the book aside, it seemed like a good choice because there are only 53 recipes (no Mastering the Art of French Cooking, thankfully!) and they span snacks, breakfast, main dish, and desserts, so there's a lot of variety.
My plan here is pretty flexible at this point.  I'd like to make at least 2 Will It Waffle recipes per month, so it will probably take me about 2 years to waffle my way through the entire book.  Maybe longer, knowing me.  For each recipe, I will write a recipe intro, describe what I changed, how it turned out, if I think it actually benefited from a trip through the waffle iron, what I'd change next time, and whether I would make the recipe again.  I will then post the recipe itself, but with whatever changes I made.  For anyone who has poked around on my blog, it's obvious that I like to tinker with recipes.  For this little project, I will attempt to keep tinkering to a minimum, but won't hesitate if I think sticking to the recipe would lead to inedible results.  For example, for this recipe, I didn't add any garlic powder because my bread crumbs already had 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and a teaspoon of garlic powder would have absolutely been overwhelming.  Additionally, we would have been eating raw ravioli if I'd pulled them out of the waffle iron after only 2 minutes, so I noted 2 to 4 minutes of cook time in the recipe.
Let the waffling begin!
For my first recipe from Will It Waffle, I chose Toasted Cheese Wavioli.  It just sounded like a fun recipe to kick of my waffling adventure with.  The recipe is just purchased ravioli rolled in bread crumbs and toasted in the waffle iron.  It calls for seasoned bread crumbs, but the kind in the cardboard can have never appealed to me.  They're just dry and salty and blah.  My husband has aptly named them Bread Dust.  I wanted better for my ravioli, so I made my own bread crumbs using sandwich bread from my pantry and this recipe, but toasted them in a large skillet until golden instead of in the oven.  They were really yummy and the recipe conveniently made exactly 1 C of bread crumbs!  
What did I change?  I left out the garlic powder because my bread crumbs already had 1 tsp garlic powder as an ingredient.  I would also be careful with adding any extra salt if you choose to use packaged, pre-seasoned bread crumbs.  Also, I had enough of the egg mixture and bread crumbs to make a full pound of ravioli, rather than the 8 oz in the recipe!  This may be because I used very large spinach and cheese filled ravioli from Sam's Club.  Perhaps you go through more bread crumbs with the smaller variety.  I also had to cook my ravioli for 4 minutes instead of the 2 minutes stated in the original recipe.
How did the recipe turn out?  Quite well!  Pretty much exactly how I hoped.  They're crunchy, toasty, and yummy.  Easy to make, too!
Did the recipe benefit from waffling?  Honestly, I'm not sure.  They were good, but I think they may have turned out just as well in the oven.  No regrets, though, this method was almost surely quicker than the oven and was certainly tasty.
What would I change next time?  The only thing I can think of is to try mixing the olive oil into the bread crumbs instead of into the milk so the ravioli would have more of that fried texture.  I'm not sure this will actually work, but it's worth a try!
Would I make this recipe again?  Yes!  They turned out pretty well and were fun.  My husband really liked them and gave them a rating of 9/10.  I would say more of an 8/10, but liked them enough that I would enjoy making (and eating) them again.  I think they would make a creative appetizer for guests.  We had them for dinner with salad on the side, and I can see serving them like that again.
Toasted Cheese Wavioli
1 C seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt (only if your bread crumbs don't have salt added)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (only if your bread crumbs don't have garlic powder added)
1 egg
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C milk
8 to 16 oz refrigerated cheese ravioli (mine were quite large, see note above)
1 C marinara sauce (I used this recipe)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and preheat waffle iron to medium.
On a plate, stir together bread crumbs, salt, and garlic powder.  Set aside.
Crack egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork.  Stir in olive oil and milk.  Set aside.
One at a time, dip ravioli into egg mixture, then coat thoroughly with bread crumbs.  Set on a piece of parchment paper next to your waffle iron.  Repeat with remaining ravioli.
Spray waffle iron with nonstick spray and fill waffle iron with as many ravioli as will fit in a single layer.  Close waffle iron and cook for 2 minutes, then lift lid to check on them.  If they aren't yet golden and toasty looking, close the waffle iron and cook for another minute or 2.  Mine took 4 minutes per batch.
Remove ravioli from waffle iron and place on an oven safe plate in the oven to stay warm while you cook the rest.
Serve ravioli with warm marinara sauce.

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