Recipe: Ravioli primavera

An actual savoury recipe!  Who knew I could still do those?  Actually, I have an uneasy feeling I’ve done something very like this before.  I mean, me, pasta, vegetables – that’s basically my default work night dinner, frankly.

But I think this is a little different to my last primavera, primarily because I’ve gotten a lot lazier since then.  Also, someone told me that adding some pasta cooking water to one’s pasta sauce makes it come together better, and they are quite right, so if nothing else, this recipe has that particular upgrade!  (I’m still hopeless at remembering to salt my pasta water, however…)

This is a pea-free primavera, because Andrew doesn’t like peas.  It is also a broad-bean-free primavera, because shelling broadbeans is for people who are much less lazy than me.  Besides, Woollies had pea ravioli with spinach and feta, so I figured our pea requirements were covered.

And that’s about it.  It’s a simple, tasty meal for four, and a good celebration of spring.

Your shopping list

Olive oil
1 bunch baby carrots
2 golden shallots (the French ones that look like miniature onions)
2 bunches asparagus
200g cherry tomatoes
60 g baby spinach
2 tablespoons pesto
100 g ricotta
50 g parmesan, finely grated
650 g vegetable ravioli (I used the aforementioned pea ravioli and a sweet potato one.  But any light-tasting vegetable ravioli will do.)
a ladle or two of reserved cooking waterNow what will you do with it?

Put the water on to boil for pasta.

Peel the carrots and halve them lengthways, then cut them in half crosswise.  If they are too chunky, split them lengthways again.

Peel the shallots, quarter them, then chop them coarsely.

Heat the oil in a BIG skillet, and add the carrots and shallots.  Sauté, stirring often, until they begin to soften.

While that’s happening, snap the ends off the asparagus, and chop them into 4-5cm lengths.  Add them once the carrots are ready, and sautée until they are getting golden in places.

Halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the pan.  This should be about the point when you are adding the ravioli to the boiling water, too.

Once the tomatoes have begun to soften, add the spinach, and stir until it wilts.  Add the pesto.

Drain the pasta over a small bowl to catch some of the cooking water. Add a ladle or so to the pan, along with the ravioli, then the ricotta, then the parmesan.

Stir everything until well combined and covered with your creamy ricotta sauce.  Serve immediately!

Variations

Look, as this stands, it’s vegetarian, but there is dairy everywhere, the ravioli contain eggs and gluten and the pesto almost certainly contains nuts.  However, nut-free pesto is available (or you could just replace it with a handful of basil, or basil-from-a-tube), and you should be able to find gluten-free pasta easily, and gluten-free ravioli if you look a little more widely.  Equally, if you make this with un-filled pasta or with gnocchi, you lose the eggs – and maybe there is eggless ravioli out there, and I just haven’t spotted it.

So, basically, you ought to be able to adapt this for most dietary needs, though you’ll want to avoid the shallots if fructose is not your friend.

I bet this would be nice with a bit of fresh mint and basil to replace the pesto.  And of course, you could add in peas and broadbeans at the point where the spinach goes in, were you so inclined.  But it’s a good basic meal as it stands, and sometimes, that’s what you need.

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