Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ravioli with Walnut Cream Sauce

I am locked in an ongoing internal debate about how much packaged/prepared food is really OK to include in recipes shared here (or in any meal that we actually intend to eat). On the one hand, this is supposed to be a place to experiment with realistic vegetarian fare. Elaborate menus can be wonderful, but everyone needs some quick tricks to pull out of the hat at the end of a long day, and the convenience of packaged foods is undeniable. On the other hand, we don't want to be guilty of what Gary calls "mixing foods together" or MFT. MFT usually involves ingredients like Velveeta, Campbell's cream of something soup, Cool Whip, Lipton's Onion Soup Mix, canned tuna, and frozen peas. Actually, leave out the Cool Whip and add some egg noodles and I think you have my sister-in-law's recipe for tuna casserole, the ultimate in MFT fare, where every single ingredient is prepackaged, tossed together and baked.

Although I know that a lot of people like that tuna casserole, I'm not all that comfortable with it. It's kind of like painting by numbers. The result is predictable and reliable, but somehow not quite "real". It's the kind of thing you imagine at church dinners in Lake Wobegon, right next to the amazing green Jello mold.  It might be OK, though, to include some carefully chosen prepared foods that we can enhance with our kitchen wizardry before they make it to the table. Maybe we don't have to make every single thing from scratch....


1lb packaged ravioli, we used Monterey Pasta Company's Spinach & Cheese variety from the refrigerator section at the grocery store.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, divided
3T butter
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (so why the 2% milk, right?)
1/2 T rosemary, chopped
2 T fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly grated Parmesan orAsiago

  1. Melt 1 1/2 T butter in a skillet over a medium-high flame. Set aside 1 T of walnuts and saute the rest until fragrant, taking care not to burn them. About 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan.
  2. Add remaining butter, garlic and rosemary and saute for about a minute.
  3. Add milk and cream. Return the walnuts to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced and sauce just coats a spoon dipped in the pan. 
  4. Stir in basil, salt & pepper. Turn off heat and cover pan to keep warm.
  5. Prepare ravioli according to package directions. It's best to lift them from the pot using a slotted spoon when done, as they can be fragile.
  6. Add ravioli to the pan with the sauce, and toss them ever so gently.
  7. Plate the ravioli and sprinkle with remaining walnuts and grated cheese.


  1. This sounds delicious, Deb! Actually the MFT you listed always showed up at our family reunions, as well as into the church recipe book! Gotta love growing up in small Southern towns! Hope to meet up with you sometime over the weekend. Lisa

  2. Somewhere I have a picture of that Jello mold, too! If I can find it, I'll post it. We are coming over tomorrow. It would be good to get together.