As I mentioned in the Cooking with Amanda intro, Amanda found this recipe to use with the gorgeous sun-dried tomatoes she found at the West End Market in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m sure any number of sun-dried tomatoes will work in this recipe, but oh, you must look for “plump, chewy” ones.
1 pound fresh cheese raviolis
12 plump, chewy sun-dried tomatoes (about 2 ounces)
2 medium garlic cloves (or 1 tsp. of the diced kind that comes in jars. I love that stuff.)
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 pine nuts
A few handfuls of fresh spinach
2/3 cup pan-roasted cherry tomatoes (optional, recipe below)
a bit of crumbled goat cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the raviolis per package instructions. Drain, but reserve about one cup of the hot pasta water (don’t skip!).
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 pine nuts and pulse a few more times.
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 – the pesto is very flavorful, so it’s a matter of how pungent you would like the sauce to be.
Arrange the spinach on each plate and top with the raviolis. Add to that the cherry tomatoes and a bit of crumbled goat cheese.
To make pan-roasted cherry tomatoes:
Slice each tomato in half and toss into a saute pan. Splash tomatoes with 2 – 3 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 scant tablespoon of brown sugar. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until the tomatoes are fragrant and just beginning to wrinkle.
Just so you know, cherry tomatoes cooked this way are so scrumptious, you’re going to want to eat them all by themselves. Maybe you should make extra.