Monday, August 9, 2010
Lick the Salt: Corn and Pesto Ravioli with Parmesan Butter Sauce
I recently picked up some prepackaged fresh pasta and sauce for the first time in ages. It wasn’t until then that I realized exactly how spoiled I have become. While the mass-produced stuff was OK, I just couldn’t get past the amount of salt that was in it. It didn’t taste salty when I ate it, but I bet I drank 3 gallons of water the rest of the night and still woke up the next morning with cotton mouth. I bet if you had tapped my vein, you could have used it to brine pickles. No offense, but I’m not sure how anyone can eat that kind of processed stuff all the time and not suffer some consequences.
My recent experience sent me back to homemade. There’s really no big trick to making fresh pasta – and it impresses the heck out of people when you tell them it’s homemade. If you’ve got the right equipment, you might have 15 or 20 minutes of active working time in it. And if you don’t have the right equipment, then you might spend twice that much time. I still think it’s pretty easy – and foolproof.
I don’t know where I picked up this basic pasta dough recipe – it isn’t mine, but I use it all the time. I also substitute some whole wheat flour on occasion (about 40% of the total) to give it a little more bite. I happen to like the texture of whole wheat pasta. I know some people don’t. Because this recipe is ravioli, I didn’t use any whole wheat flour – I figured the ravioli was chewy enough without it.
And it seems like the local corn season has hit its peak, so I want to get a little more out of it before it completely fizzles out. I figured some fresh corn inside the ravioli might be fun, so in it went. And whenever I’m doing Italian food and corn, I automatically think of pesto. But just throwing pesto sauce on the ravioli is too easy, so I decided to put it on the inside instead. (Besides, I treat fresh pesto like gold – if it goes inside, I’ll use less. That way, it will last longer.)
Since the pesto went inside, I wanted something that would be both good with the corn and simple as well. How much simpler (and better with corn) can you get than butter and parmesan cheese? (Remember how I was complaining about too much salt? You would think I’d have some issues with too much fat too, but I don’t. Go figure.)
The nice part of this is that you can make the ravioli ahead of time and just stash them in the fridge. Then at dinnertime, the whole dish comes together in just a few minutes. It’s great to entertain with – you can actually spend some time with your friends when they come over.
So throw together your own fresh pasta and leave the excess salt where it ought to be – on the rim of a margarita glass.
Recipe: Corn and Pesto Ravioli with Parmesan Butter Sauce