October 20, 2010

Ravioli with Pesto, Asaparagus & Walnuts


When I was an undergrad in college in Worcester, MA, one of my favorite restaurants was an eclectic place  called The Flying Rhino. I could always count on an element of excitement as I perused its variety of funky dishes -- every item was unique in the combinations of flavor, ingredients, and textures.  My favorite dish there was called "Rainforest Ravioli". It was a huge plate of marscapone cheese filled ravioli in a creamy pesto sauce with crisp asparagus and crunchy toasted walnuts. Every bite was heaven. 

Maybe it's because M and I recently drove by the restaurant on a Homecoming visit to our alma mater, or maybe because we're planning our wedding in Worcester and I have it on the brain, but I had a major craving for this specific ravioli dish last week. I found myself literally salivating at the thought of the hearty, warm ravs coated in bright, creamy sauce. 

The only way to fulfill the craving was to take a walk down memory lane, using taste as a guide. M and I agreed that the resulting dish had an uncanny resemblance to the original, and I'm glad to be able to share a little bite, I mean a little bit, of my college days with you now!

Ravioli with Pesto, Asparagus & Walnuts
1 package frozen whole-wheat, lowfat cheese ravioli
1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. asparagus, steamed and cut into 2" pieces
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 recipe basil pesto
4 T. Greek yogurt salt & pepper to taste
fresh crumbled feta for topping

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is rolling add the frozen ravioli. These will cook for 6-8 minutes but be prepared to remove them while they are still al-dente, as they will cook another couple of minutes in a separate pan with the sauce.

Meanwhile, put a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the walnuts and toast for a couple of minutes, then add the asparagus and cook for another minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli from the boiling water into the skillet and stir in the pesto (anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup) and Greek yogurt. Salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately topped with crumbled feta cheese.

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