"Una ciliegia tira l'altra" (One cherry leads to another) is a saying in the Bisceglie countryside of Italy, which has become a gourmet tourist attraction. A series of cherry harvest festivals, weekend after weekend, gives a continual excuse to party. Here, cherries offer a surprise flair to an Italian classic dish. When you add the sauce to the pan with the cheesy-graham coated ravioli, they react together instantly, almost caramelizing - so delicious! Add bread and salad, and enjoy a filling gourmet dinner without spending the gas money to drive to an Italian restaurant. Note you can do Steps #1-4 (and even #1-6) in advance to get dinner on the table in a hurry. Cutting the cherry tomatoes and cherries is time consuming, but the intense flavor and presentation is worth it versus using canned tomatoes.
- 5 ounces cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
- olive oil, for pan frying
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 cup graham cracker (approximately five full cracker sheets)
- 1⁄2 pint tiny cherry tomatoes, halved (you may need to quarter them if they are a larger variety, the thumb-sized grape tomatoes are perfec)
- 1⁄4 cup cherries, pitted and chopped in small pieces
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 tablespoon italian seasoning
- salt, to taste
- parmesan cheese
- Boil water and cook ravioli according to package directions; drain.
- Meanwhile, stir the marinara ingredients together and let sit, so the tomato juices can macerate.
- Make the graham crackers into fine crumbs. The blender is easiest for this, but this may take several tries; if the blender gets stuck, pick the larger pieces out of its blades and start the blender again.
- Put the parmesan and cracker crumbs in a Ziploc-type bag and shake to blend together.
- Fold the egg white and water together in a bowl.
- Coat each ravioli in the egg white mixture, then put each ravioli in the cheese/cracker bag. Shake the bag until the ravioli are coated with the mixture on both sides.
- Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Put the coated ravioli in and pan fry until the coating crisps on each side. This is quick - only 2-4 minutes total.
- Pour the marinara in the pan with the ravioli. Cook for a minute or two, carefully stirring with a spatula, until the tomatoes and cherries are sizzling hot and the flavors have blended. (Note, this step may have to be done in two batches, one for each person's plate, if your skillet is not very large. If you increase this to serve additional people, you will almost surely have to do it in batches.).
- Place half the ravioli and sauce on each plate and garnish with parmesan cheese, freshly grated if possible. Serve hot - immediately.