I'm sending these Stuffed Ravioli's to Dhivya's JFI-Saffron event this month.
1 packet of ravioli sheets
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4th cup Pesto sauce (or see recipe below)
1/2 cup blanched spinach - chopped (you cna use mushrooms or any other veggies for stuffing)
1/2 cup tomatoes - cut
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp egg wash or cornflour mixed with water - to seal the raviolis
2 tsp saffron
4 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup plain whole milk
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper powder
chives or basil - chopped for garnish
Pesto Sauce: Take 2 cups of fresh basil leaves. Add them to a mixer, add some salt, black pepper powder, fresh garlic cloves(3-4 buds) and a tiny splash of lemon juice(optional). Also add 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese. Now keep adding a tbsp of pure olive oil slowly while blending the mixture. When its half crushed, add some pine nuts to it, and blend again to form a thick yet spreadable pesto paste. keep adding EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)as required.
Ravioli: Boil the tomatoes for 4-5 mins or until tender, then blend to for a tomato puree. Fresh tomatoes give a distinct flavor to the sauce, so try avoiding ready-made puree if possible. Add some butter to a pan, then add the tomato puree and saute for some time. Whisk the whipping cream with the parmesan cheese in a separate bowl to form a thick mixture. Now add this to the tomato puree and blend well. Add plain milk if you think the sauce is too thick. Season it with salt and black pepper according to your taste. Maintain low-to-medium flame throughout the process and keep stirring continuously in the same direction.
Take 1 tbsp milk in a small cup, warm it in a microwave, and add the saffron strands to this. Crush the strands within the milk to induce the saffron color and flavor. Keep rubbing between your fingers to extract the maximum color. Now add this to the sauce, remove from flame and mix well to get a beautiful reddish-orange color. Keep the sauce aside while you make the raviolis.
Mix the ricotta cheese, spinach and pesto sauce in a bowl, and add salt to taste. Now take the ravioli sheets and cut them into desired small shapes using a cutter or knife. Brush the surface of each sheet with cornflour mixture or egg-wash. Now take a spoonful of the filling and set it in the center of the sheet. Roll the sheet over the filling, or place another sheet on the top and press along the edges gently with your fingers, sealing the ravioli. Start with pressing around the stuffing and proceed to the periphery to remove air pockets which could burst open the ravioli when you cook it. Now take a pan and cook the raviolis as intructed on the packet. Generally, it is cooked in boiling water for 5-6 mins, or until it starts to float on the top of the water.
Layer the cooked ravioli in a dish, then top it with a generous coating of the sauce. garnish with chopped basil or chives and serve hot. Indulge into the rich and fragrant flavor of saffron and cheese!!
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