Sometimes sun-dried tomatoes have hard parts near stem - trim those. I used goat cheese raviolis here - goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes are a classic pairing, but I imaging you could substitute any number of other stuffed or un-stuffed pasta. Vegans, try this with penne, and skip the cheese - the pesto will get caught in the middle of all the tubes and be delicious. Lastly, fresh raviolis seem to be sold by the pound or in 12-ounce containers - because you are saucing 'to taste' either will work.
1 pound fresh cheese raviolis
12 plump, chewy sun-dried tomatoes (about 2 ounces)
2 medium cloves garlic
a couple big pinches of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, lightly toasted
3 handfuls of baby spinach tossed with a glug of olive oil and a big pinch of salt.
2/3 cup oven-roasted cherry tomatoes (optional)*
a bit of crumbled goat cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook the raviolis per package instructions. Drain, but reserve about one cup of the hot pasta water (important!).
In the meantime, make the sun-dried tomato pesto by pulsing the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, pepper flakes, olive oil, thyme, and salt in a food processor until it comes together into a textured crumble. Add the walnuts, and pulse a few more times - see photo. Set aside.
Combine 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water in a large mixing bowl along with two-thirds of the sun-dried tomato pesto. Add the cooked raviolis and gently toss. Add more of the hot pasta water if needed to thin the pesto out - it should make a nice chunky sauce. Taste and add more of the pesto if you like - it's really a matter of personal preference at this point.
Arrange the baby spinach on a large platter and top with everything from the ravioli mixing bowl. Top with the cherry tomatoes and a bit of crumbled goat cheese.
Serves 2 - 4.
*To oven-roast cherry tomatoes: Heat oven to 350F degrees. Cut each tomato in half and arrange in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together a big splash of olive oil, a spoonful of brown sugar, and a few pinches of salt. Pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated. Arrange tomatoes cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake for 45 mintutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet.
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