Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ravioli of eggplant and goat cheese, with a tomato cream sauce

This recipe is stolen, but they pretty much all are. Does anyone care? Probably not.

If you're not feeling dedicated enough to make the ravioli from scratch, just make the sauce and put it on regular store bought pasta. It's rich and creamy and fulfilling and really fuckin' good.

For the filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces mild soft Napa Valley goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigianno-Reggiano, plus more for serving, optional
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 pound fresh thinly rolled out pasta sheets, or 1 package wonton wrappers, defrosted

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 cups peeled, chopped, and seeded tomatoes
1 sprig thyme
Kosher Salt
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Sprigs of fresh basil, for garnishing
Lightly toasted pine nuts, for garnishing, optional
For the filling:


In a large skillet or saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is tender and lightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots are soft, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the eggplant mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool before proceeding.

When the eggplant has cooled, add the goat cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, chopped basil, minced chives, and toss gently but thoroughly to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Cut the pasta sheets into 4-inch squares. Place mounds of the eggplant mixture, about 2 tablespoons each, in the center of each square, then brush the edges with water. Top each square with another square of pasta, easing the sides over the mound of filling and trying to seal the filling with as little air as possible. Using a sharp knife or a rolling fluted pasta cutter, trim the ravioli so that the edges are even and, using a fork, press the edges to adhere firmly. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and repeat with the remaining pasta and filling. (You should be able to make 18 to 20 ravioli using 2 tablespoons filling for each. If you opt to use wonton wrappers, your yield may vary.) Set aside, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, while you make the sauce. (Alternately, the ravioli may be made in advance and frozen for about 2 months until ready to use. Defrost before proceeding.)

For the sauce:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and thyme. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, and cook until the tomatoes give up their liquid, about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the chicken broth and tomato paste, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by 1/3 in volume. Add the cream and cook until reduced by 1/3 in volume, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add the butter and basil and stir to combine. Remove the thyme sprigs. With an immersion blender, puree the sauce. (Alternatively, the sauce may be pureed, in batches, in a blender - be careful if the sauce is hot as it may splatter.) Taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency if necessary. Return to the saucepan and keep warm while you cook the ravioli.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the ravioli, in batches, until they float, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to shallow serving bowls. Serve the sauce ladled over the cooked ravioli and garnish with fresh basil sprigs, pine nuts, and more Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired..