|Lobster Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce|
|Cheese Ravioli with Black Truffles and Mushroom Sauce|
|Eataly’s selection of fresh, stuffed pasta
is hard to beat.
One day I hope I’ll become wildly proficient in making my own Raviolis. For the time being however, I keep thinking back to my Mother. On the subject of store-bought substitutes for anything she didn’t have to make herself, she was wildly enthusiastic. If you knew my mother, if only on this blog, you will remember that her philosophy was to spend the barest amount of time in the kitchen to maximize the time she could spend at the cocktail hour. She was bold-faced about this and prone to saying things like: “If that little man at the Italian market makes ravioli, why on earth would I? I mean, he would go out of business if all of sudden everyone started making ravioli. And I would never want to be a party to that.” So she kept the Italian market in business. I suppose all I am doing here is picking up her torch, so to speak. Besides, I very much doubt I can do raviolis better than the ones I’ve bought. No surprise that the raviolis at Eataly, the massive Italian food market at Fifth Avenue and 23rd St., are ne plus ultra. But I don’t turn up my nose at the Fresh raviolis at Fairway. The cheese ravioli featured in today’s post came fresh from King Kullen in Bridgehampton. The lobster ravioli came from the shelves of Trader Joe’s. Now you do have to make a sauce, which would have unnerved my mother. But as I have long since given up two martinis before dinner, I find the sauce about as easy it gets when you’re getting dinner on the table.
Not too long ago, I was at a luncheon where two of the guests, hearing that I’d been working on mushroom recipes, highly recommended the Black Truffles and Mushrooms packed in Italy by a company called Urbani. Available at Citarella’s, these are hardly a bargain. The can pictured came in at $9.99. Since there were only two of us, I didn’t object too much. But if I were feeding four, I might have second thoughts. In fact, I might have sautéed some mushrooms and added the Urbanis to those just to save money. But aside from the mushrooms, for this sauce all you need is some heavy cream. I’d start the sauce first because in addition to all the other things to love about store-bought ravioli, speed is right up there. Fresh Ravioli cook in 4 to 6 minutes. Ladle the sauce over them, sprinkled with parmesan and you’ve got dinner on the table in record time. But one other ingredient is pretty well essential to this dish: Parsley or some other green or the plate of ravioli is all too monochromatic.
|Purple Basil adds fascinating color and basil flavor|
The inspiration for my second ravioli dinner came to me as I shopped at Trader Joe’s. Let’s face it, their meat selection is, at best, minimal. But across the aisle was a sea of raviolis, tortellinis—all kinds of stuffed pastas. And there was Lobster Ravioli. The pasta looked intriguing with its red stripes running through it. And the price was certainly right: 3.99 for 9 oz or about 10 raviolis. Trader Joe’s says this is enough for two. I didn’t think so. I bought a second container. And off home I went to make dinner. The sweetness of the lobster meat seem a perfect foil to the acidity of tomatoes. Grape tomatoes were the perfect size. I sliced in half the contents of a 10 oz. container of them. I also added a couple of thinly sliced cloves of garlic. Then Andrew called to say he’d found some purple basil at the Farmer’s Market near Lincoln Center. It was beautiful and besides adding another layer of flavor to the sauce, sprigs of it made the ravioli wonderful to look at on the plate. By the way I was wrong about the Raviolis. Ten of them would have been fine for two people because of the richness of the lobster filling. Neither of these dinners took even 30 minutes to make. So they enter the Hall of Fame for fast food that’s delicious and so easy to get on the table. Here are the recipes: