There is a beautiful simplicity about homemade pasta. It’s silky, smooth, and delicious. Sometimes I like it with a light sauce and sometimes I crave a heavier bolognese, but no matter what, I love it. And, since I love it so much, I thought it was a great idea to post this recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Recently, I told you how to make homemade mushroom ravioli with browned butter, garlic and fresh herbs. Of course, you can skip out on making the ravioli and just buy some, but be careful of that store-bought ravioli, especially if it’s frozen. They pack a lot of stuff in there, sometimes, that isn’t really great for you. (hello, tons of salt and preservatives and things you can’t pronounce)
Or – HELLO! – don’t bother making or buying ravioli at all. Make the dough, roll it out using a pasta machine or a rolling pin, and just cut into thin strips, instead. That’s called “how to make homemade pasta” without it being “how to make homemade ravioli”, but it’s still just as delicious. You really have to go with what works for you. Either way, this fresh tomato and basil sauce will make your dinner amazing.
This is a beautiful sauce with summer Roma tomatoes and garden-fresh basil but, sadly, those are hard to come by in my neck of the woods in mid-February. No matter what tomatoes you use, know that cooking tomatoes in a bit of oil or fat ramps up their natural lycopene benefits. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, said to be beneficial in warding off certain types of cancer and other diseases. Not bad, huh?
Personally, I think this is a very sexy meal. Smooth homemade pasta and a creamy ricotta filling, with fresh tomato and basil sauce piled on top? Oh, my! Grate a bit of high-quality Parmesan or Romano over the top and oooh, la la! It’s a perfect Valentines Day meal and, if you’re so inclined, be sure to pour a little red wine to accompany your dinner.
Here’s where I have to tell you, once again, that I don’t really follow a recipe for this. It’s a few drizzles around the pan of olive oil, a touch of chopped garlic, a few handfuls of freshly chopped tomatoes, and a toss of fragrant fresh basil tossed in at the last minute of cooking. Don’t have fresh basil on hand? If you’ve been savvy, you’ve got cubes of it in your freezer, ready to pop into the sauce at a seconds notice. See what I did there? Be smart with the overflow of your summer harvest! Anyway, these measurements are approximate and, if you’re lucky like I am, your significant other thinks garlic is pretty darned sexy.
homemade ravioli recipe (or store-bought, if you prefer)
ricotta ravioli filling recipe
- 1 lb fresh ricotta cheese (if it’s very wet, strain it for a few hours through a colander lined with a piece of cheesecloth)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup good-quality Parmesan, or even Asiago or Romano will work just fine
- A few healthy shavings of freshly ground nutmeg (I do about about 5 or 6)
- A few healthy shavings of fresh lemon zest
- 2 healthy tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix everything together well in a bowl and then assemble your ravioli, using a small spoon to fill the ravioli. Get a big pan of salted water going and then start making your sauce.
fresh tomato, garlic and basil sauce recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds scraped out and chopped
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup packed thinly-sliced basil
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat a skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just when the edges of the garlic start to turn golden, add diced tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are heated through and just start to release their juice, about 7-10 minutes. Add basil and sauce, cook for one minute more. Remove from heat. Spoon over ravioli, sprinkle with freshly-grated Parmesan and serve.
If your significant other doesn’t drop onto their knees and worship the ground you walk on, then I suggest you find a new love.
If, however, this dinner results in declarations of undying love and possibly some rumpled sheets….you’re welcome.