Sunday, May 8, 2011

Semi-Homemade Sundried Tomato "Cheese" Ravioli with Arugula Pesto

This meal isn't exactly diet food. Actually, it's the exact opposite. I don't know why I decided to cook such rich food last Friday, the day before we left for an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Oh yeah, I forgot to let you all know I'm on the beach right now. In. The. Caribbean. I'm probably sipping a fancy beverage in paradise right now and will be doing so until Friday the 13th. I made sure you'd barely notice my absence by writing a few posts ahead of time and scheduling to upload automatically this week.

But enough about exotic locations and Blogger's handy features. Let's get back to the food. You may remember that in my vegetable dumplings post I mentioned using wonton wrappers to make ravioli, as recommended in this Saveur article. Well, ever since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about whipping up my own semi-homemade ravioli. I decided to stuff them with a sundried tomato almond "cheese" this time, but I intend to experiment with other, perhaps lighter, fillings. Topped with some peppery arugula pesto, these ravioli were most certainly a delicious stick to your ribs meal.

Sundried Tomato "Cheese" Ravioli
Makes 16 very large ravioli or about 4 servings
  • 1 1/4 cup almonds, soaked for 12 to 24 hours (the longer the better) and drained
  • 1 teaspoon miso 
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (I used the kind packed in oil)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 32 wonton wrappers (make sure you get the kind without eggs)
  • 1 batch Arugula Pesto
1.  If you're a little OCD like me and would like a smoother "cheese" you'll want to peel your almonds. This isn't as terrible as it sounds. Once they've been soaked most of the skins just slip off if you apply a bit of pressure. Don't sweat it if some skins won't budge. A little almond skin never hurt anyone.
2.  Place the almonds, miso, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, pepper, basil and oregano in the food processor and whiz until it forms a uniform paste, scrapping down the sides if necessary. Add the water and blend for about another minute. Toss in the sundried tomatoes and start the motor. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in through the feeding tube. Continue to process the "cheese" until the oil and the tomatoes are mixed in uniformly.
3. Place two wonton wrappers on a plate or cutting board. Dip your finger in some water and moisten the outer 1/2 inch or so of each wrapper. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in one wrapper and cover it with the other wrapper so that the moist parts touch. Using your hands, apply pressure to the outside of the raviolo to seal in the filling. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan or plate. Repeat the process for the remaining 15 ravioli. As you can see from the penny comparison in the picture, these ravioli are king and queen sized.

4. Once your ravioli are assembled, you can either freeze them or cook them within a couple days. To freeze them, place them on a plate in the freezer, making sure they don't touch, for about 30 minutes. When they've hardened somewhat you can put them in a bag or container and keep them in the freezer until you'd like to use them. You can place frozen ravioli directly in boiling water without thawing first. If your ravioli are still fresh, cook about 6 of them at a time in a large pot of boiling water for approximately 4 minutes or until al dente. Carefully remove the ravioli from the water with a slotted spoon. Serve topped with some warm arugula pesto or another sauce of your choice.

Arugula Pesto
Makes about 1 1/4 cup
  • 3 packed cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or other light tasting vegetable oil
Toss the arugula, nutritional yeast, pecans, garlic, salt and pepper into the food processor and blend until a uniform paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the food processor, start it up again and slowly drizzle in the oil through the feeding tube. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

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