Thursday, September 29, 2011


The food of the gods.
Some type of herb or leafy thing + some type of nut or nutty thing + lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil.
Blend.  Consume.  Easy.
Mix and match.  Follow your heart and your taste buds to a green and flavorful Nirvana.

Ok sorry, less weird:
Basil and pine nut pesto is a tried and true champion, but why not try something new?  I've had walnut-parsley pesto, cilantro-cashew pesto (surprisingly good despite my disdain for the herb), and sun dried tomato-almond pesto.  Technically not a leaf or an herb, but rules were made to be broken, right?

The other day I used the insane amount of spinach I had in my fridge and my roommate's leftover pecans to whip up some lovely green glop of my own.  I decided to get fancy and partially make my own pasta as well --- it was an adventure, and if you've got the time I definitely recommend it.

Spinach and Pecan Pesto with Mushroom Ravioli
Adapted from About Southern Food and inspired by Pioneer Woman, respectively

For pesto:
4 packed cups of spinach
1/4 cup olive oil (this is a small amount because I like my pesto paste-y, not oily.  Spreadable not drizzle-able.  You dig?  Feel free to add more if that's your jam)
1/3 cup shredded parmesean
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cloves garlic, minced
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

For ravioli:
Prepared fresh pasta sheets (wanna make the pasta yourself?  You're a hero.  I don't have that kind of time, so I bought some packaged fresh lasagna sheets from the refrigerated section)
1 1/2 cups super finely minced mushrooms
1/4 cup finely minced carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
one egg, beaten

Blend all of the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Resist all urges to eat the entire batch with a spoon, but don't TORTURE yourself, I mean by all means have ONE spoonful.

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Add mushrooms, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook down until browned and soft, stirring occasionally.

This is after I already made some of the raviolis with just mushrooms, that's why it looks so carrot-heavy.  But I'm telling you.  The mixture was better.  Hearty.  Felt like fall.  All the good stuff.
While the mushroom mixture is cooking, slice pasta sheets into your desired shapes.  I chose to make 2 inch square raviolis, which require two 2 inch square pieces each.  I also made one GIANT ravioli, but that's because I'm silly.  I like the idea of one piece of pasta acting as an appetizer or a side dish.  Anyway.

Spoon a very small amount of the cooked mushroom mixture to the center of one pasta square, between one and two teaspoons.  The other pasta square needs to be able to fit over the mixture without stretching.  Brush a little of the beaten egg wash on the pasta square around the edges of the little mound of mushroom mix.  This helps the other piece of pasta adhere to the first and not separate while cooking.

I found that the best way to assemble the ravioli was to lay the second pasta piece over the first and pinch it around the mound of mushroom mix (five times fast?) into a sort of X shape.  Then press the edges of the pasta pieces together by crimping them with a fork.  Functional and cute, thats my motto!

Nope not really.  But in this case yes.

You'll get in a groove and get a little one-man assembly line thing going, and pretty soon you've got fifteen to twenty raviolis!

Salt some boiling water, and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes.

Filling mushroom ravioli + bright and springy spinach pesto + sprinkling of parmesan.
Yum. Yummm. Yuhhhhm.

1 comment:

  1. So glad I'm not the only one who whips up absurdly elaborate weeknight meals for no real reason. Dinnertime? That's not sufficiently eventful? This looks phenomenal.

    I'm also commenting at 10:30pm on a Friday night so...take that as you will. It's a fine, fine line between domestic goddess and cat lady. Or rather, muffin lady. I don't do cats.