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Entertaining, Recipes

Summer entertaining: peach and basil ravioli

My favorite thing about summer -even more than tanning- is those balmy summer nights that just beg you to throw a garden party. Here in Amman, no matter how hot it may be during the day (and believe me, it has been HOT lately), you can bet your bottom dollar that sunset will always usher in a cool, easy breeze that sets a truly perfect scene for a night in good company. Of course, an easy, breezy, balmy summer’s night demands equally refreshing food, and I have spent the day today dreaming up dish ideas for exactly this kind of occasion. Some of my friends and I have been talking for ages about having a dinner party, but between our busy work schedules and travel plans, it has been easier said that done. I finally managed to convene this long-overdue dinner party tonight, and given how long we have been planning this, the pressure was definitely on for me to put together an impressive meal that lived up to the hype that my interest in food had generated.

To start, I served homemade ravioli stuffed with peach and basil, with a vanilla and brown butter sauce. It might sound like a weird combination, but if I do say so myself, it was delicious. It was sweet, tart, rich, and unexpected all at the same time. I am a huge fan of sweet-and-savory food, and all this luscious summer produce makes it all the more tempting to “play with food.”

You will need:

For the ravioli:

  • Homemade pasta dough (see recipe here from a previous post)
  • 3 medium to large peaches
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the sauce:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Handful basil leaves
  • Handful chopped walnuts

Blanche peaches in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove from boiling water and place into ice water immediately. Remove skins from peaches and slice each one into eighths. Toss peach slices in 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until very tender. Allow peaches to cool until they are tepid.

Combine cooled (but still warm) peaches, chopped basil, chopped walnuts, ricotta, and honey in a food processor and pulse no more than 3-4 times to mash slightly. You can pulse the mixture more if you want your filling to be puréed, but I prefer it slightly chunky so it doesn’t feel like mushy baby food. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll prepared pasta dough into 1.5mm sheets on a generously-floured work surface. Whisk egg and milk together to create an egg wash, and lightly brush the top of one sheet of dough with it to coat. Spoon 1-tsp portions of filling onto your pasta sheet, keeping big enough spaces between each spoonful to fit the size of your ravioli mold (you can also simply use the rim of a glass to cut out the dough if you don’t have a mold). Brush one side of another sheet of pasta dough with egg wash, and place (egg wash side down) onto the ravioli filling. Gently trace around the filling with your fingers to remove air bubbles from between pasta sheets, and cut to shape. Sprinkle ravioli with flour to prevent them from sticking together, and line on a large plate or baking sheet. The recipe makes 18-24 ravioli, depending on size.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt and olive oil. Once the water boils, plop the ravioli in, about 5-6 at a time, and cook for about 5-8 minutes until al dente. In the meantime, place butter cubes in a skillet and heat until the butter starts to brown. Scrape seeds of vanilla bean and add to butter sauce. Place cooked ravioli on a serving platter, and drizzle brown butter over them (you can drizzle the butter through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of the small red specks that form when the butter is browned). Garnish with walnuts and chopped basil leaves, and serve warm with a glass of crisp, fruity white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.

In good health,

F

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Summer entertaining: peach and basil ravioli

  1. Ohhhh this sounds wonderful! I’ve not made any raviolis like this … I will be though! Thanks!

    Posted by Pasta Princess | July 11, 2012, 10:03 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Summer entertaining: roasted chicken with quinoa stuffing « daily amuse-bouche - July 10, 2012

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