Chocolate and Banana Dessert Ravioli with Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream (8).jpg
Chef Jason Kowalski (2).jpg

Chef Jason Kowalski

Creative and exciting with edgy surprises. That describes Jason Kowalski’s culinary point of view. “I’ve always been a person who has thought outside the box. I mean, why be normal?” laughs Kowalski, chef and co-owner of Olio in Groton. “I take traditional entrées and make a dessert using the same basic principle but with different ingredients.” Banana and chocolate ravioli illustrates Kowalski’s talent for creating a surprise for the taste buds. “When you recreate a familiar dish in a unique way, you’ll hear, ‘Wow, I’ve never had it like that before.’ ”

A popular dessert choice at Olio, the ravioli keeps it simple with only five ingredients. “Who doesn’t love banana and chocolate together? The ravioli is a vehicle to carry the sweet and creamy texture of mascarpone, chocolate and banana. It’s the perfect combination,” he says, crediting his partner Carol Kanabis and manager Lisa Villano for collaborating with him at Olio for 20 years. “This is a dish that’s different than your ordinary holiday dessert. It can easily be made at home and it’s extremely fun to make.”

Kowalski was inspired by his mother and grandmother, who cooked together on a 50-acre farm. “As a young kid they taught me a lot. I learned to cook from the land, and from there I took traditional cooking and gave it a new-age twist,” he says. Kowalski encourages people to be adventurous in the kitchen. “If you take ordinary things and do them in a unique way you’ll achieve greatness.”


Banana and chocolate dessert ravioli

Chocolate and Banana Dessert Ravioli with Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream (3).jpg

Yield: 9 ravioli

Prep time: 1 hour, 20 minutes; frying time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

For the ravioli

  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 ripe banana, diced 
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli or Valrhona)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 sheets of 6-inch-by-6-inch puff pastry
  • 2 ounces powdered sugar

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

For the caramel sauce

  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the chocolate sauce

  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions

For the ravioli

In a bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese, diced banana and chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with one tablespoon of water. Set aside.

On a 12-inch-by-12-inch cutting board or non-stick surface, lay out one sheet of puff pastry. Brush with the egg wash.

Place small but equal amounts of the banana and chocolate cheese mixture on the puff pastry sheet, spreading it horizontally with 2 inches of separation.

Cover the entire pastry sheet with the second sheet of puff pastry. Using your fingers, press the puff pastry together around the outer edges.

Using a dye-cut ravioli press, or a pastry cutter, cut out the ravioli in 2-inch pieces.

Place on a floured 12-inch cookie sheet and freeze for one hour.

For the cinnamon sugar

Place the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix together. 

For the caramel sauce

Add sugar and water to a saucepan and cook until the mixture caramelizes. 

Add butter and lemon juice. Swirl until dissolved. 

Add cream; stir until combined. Cook for 2 more minutes. Let cool.

For the chocolate sauce

Add sugar and water to a saucepan and cook until the mixture caramelizes. 

Add butter and swirl until dissolved. 

Add the chocolate chips and the heavy cream; stir until combined. Cook for 2 more minutes. Let cool.

To serve

Fry the frozen ravioli in a home fryer at 350 degrees until crispy. (Alternatively, use a saucepan with 4 cups of sunflower or canola oil and fry for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.) 

Toss the cooked ravioli in the cinnamon-sugar while warm.

Drizzle the caramel and chocolate sauce on a plate. Place four ravioli on top. Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and dust with powdered sugar.

Pamela Brown is a former English professor, a freelance writer, a marketing/PR specialist for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, and author of Faithful Love, her first novel that inspired a love of writing. Pamela resides in Connecticut with her daughter, Alexis, who makes her life an adventure. 

This article appears in the December 2021 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.