Red Pesto Ravioli Recipe
For the sun-dried tomato lovers out there. Goat-cheese raviolis tossed in a sun-dried tomato red pesto sauce, served over baby spinach.
This one is for Wayne who has a real soft-spot for sun-dried tomatoes. He says to me - they are to tomatoes what espresso is to coffee. No doubt, there are many things to like about sun-dried tomatoes. I too appreciate their intensity of flavor. And I love their pretty-ugliness - all those blackened wrinkles and that rusted-red patina. Every time I cook with these little tongues of flavor I scold myself for not using them more often - this time in particular. I made a walnut-studded red pesto sauce by casting sun-dried tomatoes in the role basil typically plays. I tossed the pesto with goat cheese raviolis and and served them on a bed of baby spinach. I happened to have some left-over oven-roasted tomatoes on hand, and grabbed for those as well. Their sweetness played off the goat cheese, spinach, and pesto so nicely, but you can certainly leave that component out if you're trying to pull things together quickly, and don't want to bother heating the oven.
The key to a recipe like this is sourcing good tomatoes. Not all sun-dried tomatoes are created equally. I regularly come across bags full of dried tomatoes that are more like crisps than anything else. No good - pass on those. Look for slightly plump, pliable, chewy, sun-dried tomatoes. They are far easier to work with and taste better.
You can serve this warm or at room temperature. The spinach ends up wilting a bit under the hot raviolis - just what you want.
Red Pesto Ravioli Recipe
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.
Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes
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PS. I also should've said that it was VERY easy, which is a huge plus in my book!
I love sun dried tomatoes also, but unfortuntely my husband doesn't, so I don't get to eat them nearly enough! Once each year I buy a huge box of really great organic Roma tomatoes at the farmers' market and make overnight "sun" dried tomatoes in the oven. If they are still a bit wet and chewy I store them in the freezer all winter, but if they are nice and dry they keep will in the pantry.
Thanks, Heidi -- I tried this recipe and it was amazing!! Loved it. Perfect for summer.
you have officially outdone yourself. i might have just drooled on my keyboard - this looks FANTASTIC!!!!
This looks so yummy!!!
Wow, this is making me all nostalgic. When I was 12, I had a restaurant experience that turned my lightbulb on and it was because of a very similar ravioli at Seattle's Bizzaro Ristorante. Up until that point my dining experience had been downright pedestrian, consisting of sub-par marinara and garbage alfredo sauce. It was on this first visit that I experienced the power of a sundried tomato and fell in love with the glorious pinenut. It was also the first time I ever thanked a chef in person. Thanks Heidi. I'll be making this as soon as possible.
What is it with men and their sundried tomatoes? My husband insists we keep some on hand, and frequently reserves his best compliments for dishes that contain them. Every time I think of them I now recall that episode Friends when Monica declares them utterly déclassé -but I won't give them up either. On the menu soon, I'm sure.
This might be one of my favorite recipes ever!
Heidi, I love it! It looks so hearty, filling and...... absolutely delish. Ok, 'delish' is not actually a word but you get what I'm saying. Great job.
I make something very similar to this occasionally (same thing, minus the nuts) and I use it as a spread for bread and crackers. However, I always soak the sun-dried tomatoes first in hot water and then add some of the soaking water when blending. I find it's easier to process that way and it comes out smoother.
yum. sun dried tomatoes are so very good. last summer i finally was able to dry my own without them going moldy. i will give the a try after some tomatoes are dried...they are still so new this season, high in the mountains that they don't last too long on the counter:)
is it necessary to rehydrate the tomatoes? or is it ok to work with them 'dry'?
I love the idea of doing the sun-dried and oven-roasted tomatoes. It's a tomato duet! Any suggestions on a good vegan ravioli?
We are HUGE fans of sun-dried tomatoes here, so this recipe sounds perfect.
These flavor combinations are classic. The world would be a better place if everyone ate roasted tomatoes every once in a while! Each summer I roast ovenfuls of tomatoes (tossed with fresh herbs, red wine, garlic, and olive oil) and then freeze them in quart jars. They are jars full of red gold. I also make a pesto torte---it has alternating layers of basil pesto, roasted tomato pesto, and ricotta and cream cheese. Ooh-la-la!
Oh, this looks wonderful! Just one question; what would be a good replacement for the spinach? My dad and I are both deathly allergic to spinach...
This looks great- I might try it for a picnic in a few weeks' time. I'm like Wayne- LOVE sundried tomatoes.
here's another 'tomato in any form' lover....'tomato' gets so concentrated when sun dried ...so this pesto i am going to try.....loved it with baby spinach n ravioli..
My GOODNESS that looks delicious! Oh, I think I need to figure out how to make gluten free ravioli now (or maybe I'll just enjoy this on some rice spaghetti). I made your tortilla soup recipe with the dried tomatoes and it was amazing, so I have high hopes for this :)
Aww yeah, summertime means all sorts of tomato creations. any suggestions on good fresh ravioli?
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