I learned a valuable lesson over this past week while I was sick. It’s nothing virtuous or useful, some knowledge or skill that will benefit me in the future. Humanity as a whole will remain unchanged by this personal realization and the world will continue spinning just as it had before I contracted a stomach virus. Really, the only people it affects are those closest to me and they are already well aware of it. Wondering exactly what I discovered about myself during the course of this brief illness?
I am terrible at being sick. All pretenses of patience or normal conversation skills fly out the window the second I’m in pain. Or get the sniffles, or feel nauseous, or dizzy, or congested, or coughy, or any other unpleasant symptom.
While sick, the best trait I can muster is sleepy. All other emotions are veiled behind sleepy. You bring me a Sprite, you get a sleepy smile of thanks. You change the channel from Turner Classic Movies, you get a sleepy scowl, plus a spiteful cough aimed in your general direction. You’re the unfortunate nurse at the doctor’s office, you get some sleepy mumbles from underneath a hooded sweatshirt slumped in an uncomfortable chair.
I can’t say why sleepy is my go-to state while sick, but I think it’s a survival mechanism. Rather than sit around and just be sick, I can take a nap and pass a few hours. Plus, in this case, it was rather nice to catch up on some much-needed zzz’s now that I’m well into the spring semester. Almost comforting, in a way, if you ignore the whole “stomach virus” part.
Speaking of things that are comforting and don’t involve stomach viruses (and speaking of truly fantastic transition sentences), crispy ravioli certainly fits the bill. You’ve got pasta, first of all, which everyone knows is pretty much the ultimate comfort food. Then it’s filled with earthy wild mushrooms. Yum. Finally—just because that’s not crazy awesome enough on its own—those little pockets of savory deliciousness are coated in Italian breadcrumbs and pan fried until crunchy and golden.
And then you dip them in Italian salsa.
It’s a glorious mixture of crushed tomatoes, red onion, garlic, parsley, basil, cayenne, and brown sugar that makes your taste buds dance for joy. Thanks to the crisp texture of raw onion and the vibrant punch of fresh herbs, this condiment is completely different from any sort of marinara dipping sauce that you usually encounter with fried Italian dishes. Instead, it’s this cool mixture of Mexican-style salsa and cocktail sauce. To put it plainly, Italian salsa is super duper yum.
Are you drooling? Tummy growling?
Don’t worry, it’s a completely normal reaction. Tasty ravioli—creamy mushroom filling and crispy, breadcrumbed exterior—will definitely give you that warm, smiley feeling. Drooling and tummy rumbles are a typical symptom that you’re experiencing ravioli deficiency. The only cure is to make this recipe as soon as possible.
Crispy Ravioli with Italian Salsa
Adapted from “Crispy Medallione with Fresh Italian Salsa” from Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen Cookbook
For Crispy Ravioli:
2 9-ounce packages ravioli (about 20, use any flavor you like—I used wild mushroom)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
For Italian Salsa:
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
handful fresh basil, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
For Italian Salsa
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill.
For Crispy Ravioli
Cook ravioli according to package instructions. Drain and allow to slightly cool.
Pour the buttermilk in a medium bowl and pour the breadcrumbs in another medium bowl. Dip each raviolo in the buttermilk, then in the breadcrumbs, coating well.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ravioli in the skillet until crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towels on a plate, sprinkling with a bit of salt.
Serve warm with Italian salsa.