What kind of meal do you consider to be “special?” Is it one that you ate growing up and can’t seem to forget? Or is it something fancy and out of the ordinary – a dish you wouldn’t cook if it wasn’t meant for a specific, important occasion? Or maybe both?
A few weeks ago I wanted to cook something special for dinner to pre-celebrate Christmas since I wouldn’t be around for the actual holiday. It was a lovely night filled with wine, our favorite cheeses, some leftover chocolate pie, presents, and partially homemade ravioli. (I almost wrote “semi-homemade” but realized that would create an uproar and make you all think I color coordinate my outfits to my kitchen. Not so!)
Why partially homemade? Well, I didn’t have time to make my own pasta dough (and, let’s face it, I’ve never done it before and want to experiment a bit first), and had to resort to using wonton wraps from the grocery store. The filling was homemade and we stuffed those babies ourselves, boiled them up, and topped them with this sauce. (Can I reiterate how wonderful this sauce is?)
This ravioli recipe is from The Farm to Table Cookbook and I found it on one of my favorite blogs to read: Dana Treat. The filling has textural components that are atypical for the ravioli you might be used to eating in restaurants; in addition to the multiple cheeses in the filling, there are also hazelnuts and fresh basil ribbons, both adding contrast and even an element of the unexpected. Each bite begins with the tenderness of the boiled won ton wrap followed by the creaminess of the cheese, the freshness of the basil and, last, the subtle crunch of the hazelnuts. Each of these nuances contributes to the gentle heartiness of the ravioli and, combined with the creamy, rich tomato sauce, give the dish warmth, depth, and an element that something special and worthy of celebration is definitely taking place.
This recipe is definitely worth a try for a special occasion, or even just for a regular lazy Sunday sort of meal.