Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spinach Raviolis with Asparagus and Roasted Zucchini - serves 4

My travels through the regions of Tuscany and Umbria made me realize how much Italians love the earth and what she provides. They take great care in reaping what they sow. I've never seen such vegetation and the attention to detail when it comes to farming and landscape design. We definitely don't have the quality nor the color, size or taste that comes close to what Italy is so wonderful and known for. Yes, we do have farmers markets, vineyards and nurseries, but what Americans tend to do is overindulge. We sell vegetables that aren't in season, we pollute our gardens/vineyards with chemicals, we over landscape our homes and we always need more of everything instead of enjoying what we already have. One of the things I learned in Italy is to keep it simple and to use as little as possible. Otherwise, overdone. I think this can and should apply to just about everything.  This recipe is just that.

1 pound of spinach ravioli (for you Dallasites, go to Lucido Pasta, 2680 Nova Drive)
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and drizzled with olive oil and course sea salt (or Kosher salt)
1 pound of asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 1/2 tbs of chopped thyme (or lemon thyme if available)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cream

Fill a large sauce pan with water and 1/4 cup fine sea salt and bring to a boil.  Add asparagus and blanch for three minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove asparagus to colander and run cold water over.  Set aside to drain.  Keep water boiling.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.  Place prepared zucchini in foil lined baking dish.  Broil for about 7-8 minutes, or until tops are charred.  Remove and set aside.

Once asparagus is removed, add raviolis to boiling water and cook for 8 minutes or according to package instructions.  As pasta is cooking add cream to small sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Add parmesan and stir until melted through.

Drain pasta and pour into large bowl.  Slice asparagus, zucchini and thyme and add to raviolis.  Pour in sauce and mix well, spreading to coat.  Top with additional thyme and serve.

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