Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ravioli with toasted walnuts

  • 1 package frozen or fresh ravioli

  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • chopped fresh parsley

  • olive oil

Fill the biggest pot you own with water and a pinch of salt, bring to boil and prepare ravioli according to package instructions. While juggling that Herculean task, begin toasting dry walnuts in skillet, cast iron works best, over a medium flame. After about 3 minutes add garlic and a generous pass of olive oil. Reduce heat to low and add parsley, cook for as long as the ravioli take, shouldn't be more than a few minutes. Drizzle mixture with additional olive oil as needed and serve over cooked (but not overcooked) ravioli.

The dish: This is an easy dish that presents as harder than it is. The one in the photo was actually one of my least favorite preparations. I normally use whole walnuts and chop them myself, but I had a bag a of chopped ones on hand and I just used them. Their texture was a little too small and predictable for this dish. Using an interesting ravioli helps as well. This time it was a fresh 5 cheese and herb, but my favorite was a frozen butternut squash ravioli that lent itself to this in a great way. My rule with olive oil is this: if it's being cooked it can't be too cheap; if served raw it can't be too expensive. Olive oil is very delicate and really doesn't stand up to heat, so go ahead and buy the store brand, don't even splurge for the virgin or extra at that. However, also have some on hand that your initial thought regarding it was "who in the hell would spend this much on canola's snobby cousin"? My trick is to go to Marshall's or TJ Max or some such store and buy it on close out, you can get a great bottle for about $7. In this recipe I cooked with my cheap stuff, but after the heat went off I drizzled the mixture with my private reserve.

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