August 30, 2010

Ravioli with Tomatoes, Basil & Pine Nuts

Ravioli is one of my favorite foods in the entire world. If I were to be asked what my last meal would be, my answer is always, "big, cheese-filled ravioli smothered in red sauce." There is something incredibly fulfilling about this robust and comforting combination that feels to me like I am eating the equivalent of a big, loving hug. What more could I need?

These ravs may not be big or smothered in red sauce, but they are ravs nonetheless and still receive all my love, too.

They have all my favorite tastes of summer -- fresh basil, juicy tomatoes, and toasty pine nuts -- with all the comforts of savory Italian fare. This dinner is ready in moments. With the onions, tomatoes, basil, and nuts simmering in one pan and the ravioli boiling in another, all it takes is tossing the two together with some salt and pepper, and it's all done.

M and I cooked up this dish then packaged it into a takeout container. We leashed the dog and walked to the Art Museum and sat in the gazebos overlooking Boathouse Row. It was a beautiful night. The sun was setting remarkably fast. As we chewed thoughtfully and looked out over Philadelphia, I felt completely fulfilled: by these light and flavorful ravioli, the company I was in, the scene of the city around us and the calm of the dusky evening. Last meals may be a nice idea, but life with equivalently good meals is much much better...

Ravioli with Tomatoes, Cheese, and Pine Nuts: serves two generously
2 T. olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup or more of freshly torn basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
salt to taste
hot red pepper flakes to taste
Parmesan cheese, optional
1 package of your favorite cheese ravioli, frozen (or fresh)

In a shallow pan, heat the olive oil until it simmers.  Add the onions and tomatoes and cook until beginning to soften. Meanwhile, boil generously salted water in a large pot and add the ravioli. As the ravioli cook, add the garlic, basil, and pine nuts to the onions and tomatoes. Stir together. When the ravioli float to the top of the boiling water and are done, move them to the pan with the vegetables using a slotted spoon. Add a few T. of cooking water from the pasta to create a sauce, season with the salt and hot pepper flakes, toss, and serve.

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