August 20, 2012

Pierogies and Ravioli

Even with the full-on gluten versions, you can be hard-pressed to find good frozen pierogies or ravioli. In my gluten days I became very picky, especially after living in Eastern Europe where homemade ones are everywhere. I quickly found good ones upon returning and send friends there still (the Sausage Kitchen has some of the best), but with gluten out of my diet I’ve been out of luck. I’m sure Italians and those who love ravioli feel the same – Ya, I’ve seen those line ups inside the good Italian shops.

I’ve wanted to try and make my own, but making pierogies from scratch is a big process, whether or not they’re gf. And it’s a lot of work when there are only two of you. So I got a little excited back in the spring when I heard that a store out in Kanata carried gluten-free pierogies. One day, when I happened to be off, I took a trip out to the suburbs and ventured to Grace in the Kitchen. Grace seems to have a bit of everything – high end kitchen products, the gadget that you can’t live without, those specialty food items that are perfect for party coming up, great desserts and coffee, fine cheeses, and of course some gluten-free goodies. Their shelves don’t have too many items that you can’t find anywhere else, but their freezer is the jackpot. And wouldn’t you know it there were bags of frozen gluten-free pierogies and ravioli. I was out of luck on my first visit, but the clerk was happy to put down my name for a phone call when they came in.

Conte’sPasta is in New Jersey and I must admit their pierogies are pretty good. Nothing will replace the fresh homemade pierogies I remember, but they are the closest thing in the gf world (I’ve had a few and their not that great). The only thing that would make them better is to use thinner dough; it’s just too thick for a pierogi. I’m sure that Italians would say the same about the ravioli. While I might think Conte’s are really good, they might not compare to someone’s nona’s ravioli.

Of course with ravioli being pasta (even the gf kind), you boil it to cook it; pierogies are different. There are those who boil and those who sauté. I’m in the sautéing group and Conte’s don’t sauté that well since they need to be thawed then pan-fried. It isn’t very easy and it doesn’t look very pretty. They boil up flawlessly though. As an experiment I boiled then sautéed them and it worked out pretty good. With some fried onions and a little plain yogurt, they were a nice dinner. Even The Honey was happy with them, and my mom didn’t think they were too bad either.

Grace also has a few gluten-free baked items available at their coffee counter. I picked up a delicious chocolate walnut cookie that was so rich and to-die-for.

The price for the pierogies and ravioli seems a little scary at first ($7.99/bag), but considering the amount and being gluten-free, it’s not too bad. From memory, there are about 12-14 pierogies/bag, which suffice for a bunch of small starters or 2-3 dinners. And the pierogies and pasta are filling, so 6-8/person is enough. Since this discovery I have found them also at Natural Pantry and RainbowFoods.


Post a Comment