Posts Tagged With: Ravioli

281/365: National Pierogi Day*

The food of honor today is very filling, but you’ll still Polish off your plate. October 8 is National Pierogi Day!

It’s also National Fluffernutter Day, and while that’s a fun word to say out loud – go ahead, do it – the combination of peanut butter and marshmallow creme is much too sweet for my palate. I’d prefer to honor my heritage (Eastern European) instead, so we decided to celebrate the lowly pierogi.

I say lowly because the pierogi – a dumpling traditionally stuffed with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit, that is first boiled and then either fried or baked – was long considered a peasant dish. Similar to Russian pelmini, pierogi (also known as perogi, pyrogy, perogie, perogy, pirohi, piroghi, pirogi, pirogen, pierogy,pirohy, pyrogie, and pyrohy) originated in Poland in the 13th century as an answer to Italy’s ravioli, and were popular with Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Russians, and Ukrainians. Eastern European immigrants in the late 19th century brought their favorite pierogi recipes to America, and remain especially popular in the Northeastern states. They became a staple of ethnic church fundraisers following World War II, and began appearing in the frozen food aisles of supermarkets in the 1960s. To this day, the Pittsburgh Pirates feature a costumed Great Pierogi Race during all home games featuring contestants dressed in pierogi costumes: Jalapeño Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, and Oliver Onion. Seriously, folks. I am not making this up.

Pierogi are easy to come by around here, as there is a large local Eastern European population in and around the Portland metropolitan area. But since our neighborhood European market was closed when we stopped by, we ended up picking up a box of frozen Mrs. T’s. Potato and cheddar pierogies, to be exact. They made a tasty appetizer for tonight’s dinner.

National Pierogi Day

Categories: Pasta | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

79/365: National Ravioli Day

Today’s food holiday is a very fulfilling one: we honor one of my personal favorite types of pasta. It’s National Ravioli Day!

Ravioli is any filled or sealed pasta, so technically tortellini is a type of ravioli. Which means we’ve already celebrated this holiday! But ravioli are so good, I don’t mind doing it again. Wontons, pierogis, and dumplings are also variations of ravioli. Burritos are not, unless you make yours with pasta, which would be…hmm…actually, a brilliant idea! Ravioli are traditionally filled with either meat or cheese, and simmered in sauce or broth.

Haute cuisine to a kid!

Haute cuisine to a kid!

The earliest reference to ravioli is found in a manuscript by Tuscan merchant Francesco di Marco Datin, dated sometime in the 14th century. Francesco included a recipe for ravioli made with chopped blanched green herbs mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese, and served with – this is the weird part – Newman’s Own Sock It To ‘Em Sockarooni pasta sauce. Oops, I mean, served in broth. That makes more sense! Actually, tomato-based sauces didn’t even exist in Italy for another couple of centuries, when they were imported from the New World. Italian cuisine without tomato sauce? That’s hard to fathom. Ravioli are traditionally made at home and stuffed with ingredients like ricotta, spinach, and nutmeg, but they are also prepackaged for lazy-ass people who can’t roll out pasta dough convenience. The first canned ravioli was produced during World War I, and let’s face it, what kid hasn’t enjoyed a bowl of Chef Boyardee Ravioli while growing up? In fact, Tara professes a fondness for this stuff even today.

Fortunately, we did not run out and heat up a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli for today’s challenge, though we also didn’t make our own fresh pasta from scratch (though that is a goal of mine). We were at Costco over the weekend, and picked up a package of Jarlsberg & Portobello Mushroom ravioli, so I cooked those up for lunch, and served them with a mushroom alfredo sauce. Good stuff!


Categories: Pasta | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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