Weeknight Fancy Ravioli

I have a couple delicious weeknight pasta recipes to share.

The original recipe for this dish described it as “weeknight fancy”- loved it. The spicy brown-butter coated walnut topping was an essential element to earn this description.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I served the flavorful sauce over arugula-parmesan ravioli and incorporated garlic and asparagus. I also modified the method. Any variety of store-bought ravioli would work with this dish.

Yield: Serves 4

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 10 oz package frozen peas (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 16–20 oz fresh or frozen ravioli (I used Trader Joe’s fresh Arugula & Parmesan Ravioli)
  • 4 T (1/4 cup) coarsely chopped raw walnuts or pistachios
  • 1 tsp Aleppo-style pepper
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces, optional
  1. Place the frozen peas in a fine-mesh sieve and place in a large pot of boiling salted water; cook until peas are tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Lift sieve from water to drain peas and basil and transfer to a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)(Alternatively, you can skip the sieve and use a spider or slotted spoon to fish out the peas and basil.)
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and keep cooking liquid warm. (You will use it for the sauce, ravioli and the asparagus, if using.)
  4. Add the basil, garlic, grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons butter (cut into 4 pieces) and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to the blender with the peas.
  5. Blend, gradually increasing speed to high and adding up to 1/4 cup additional cooking liquid as needed, until you have a mostly smooth, fairly loose sauce; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (I didn’t add any additional liquid.)
  6. Return cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Add ravioli -and asparagus, if using. Cook, stirring gently to unstick, until tender, about 3 minutes or according to package directions. Drain reserving 1/2 cup of pasta liquid. Reserve pot.
  7. Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
  8. Add the chopped nuts and cook, stirring often, until butter begins to smell toasty and turn brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  9. Add Aleppo-style pepper, finely grate in lemon zest, and season lightly with salt; mix well.
  10. Slice lemon into wedges.
  11. Return cooked ravioli -and asparagus, if using- to pot, pour pea sauce over, and stir gently to coat. At this point, the consistency can be adjusted with reserved pasta water, if necessary. Using a large spoon, transfer ravioli to plates or a serving dish.
  12. Top with more Parmesan and basil, then spoon brown-butter nuts over the top. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, as desired. 

Spinach & Ricotta Pappardelle

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A lot of dishes seem to be “deconstructed.” This deconstructed ravioli truly tasted like ravioli- and smelled AMAZING. This recipe was adapted from the Food and Wine column “Chef Recipes Made Easy.” It is a modification of homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta, leeks, scallions, and spinach, served in a butter-sage sauce, made by Lidia Bastianich. This dish is seasonless but I was able to make it this time of year with gorgeous CSA spinach and beautiful sage from my garden. A quick, flavorful, dinner-party worthy, vegetarian pasta!!

Yield: 6 servings

  • 14 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 12 to 24 cups spinach, sliced into 1-2″ ribbons (other greens can also be incorporated such as chard and/or beet greens- stems chopped into 1/4- inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle pasta until al dente. Drain the pappardelle thoroughly, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the scallions and sage and cook over high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. If using chard or other greens, add the chopped stems at this point and sauté until softened.
  3. Add the spinach and/or additional greens in large handfuls and cook, stirring, until wilted.
  4. Add the pasta, butter and ricotta and toss. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and the Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook over moderately low heat, tossing, until the sauce is thick and creamy, adding more of the pasta water as needed. Transfer the pappardelle to bowls and serve right away, with grated Parmigiano.

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