Tuesday, August 03, 2010

July 27th - Red Pepper Ravioli in Cashew Nut Basil Pesto

Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Ravioli in Cashew Basil Pesto
This was our first trip back to the Drive in nearly a month.  It is an interesting and diverse neighbourhood.  It was originally the Little Italy of Vancouver and to lesser extent, it still is.  The fruit and veg markets are extremely competitive and in season (for the most part, I do not go to Triple A after an incident with infested Kale). 

Our default stop is the First Ravioli store.  Without fail, if we are on Commercial Drive, we are going to buy fresh pasta at the First Ravioli store.  I am fairly certain that the same supplier is used at both Zara's and Dusos' on Granville Island and Whole Foods and Bosa Foods supermarkets.  Some of the varieties are identical in shape and colouring.  I do not know for certain how much of it, if any is made on site anymore.  It is definitely better priced than the other places listed above and the exact same quality if not better because of the high turnover.

Today we picked the Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Ravioli.  We have had it before from Granville Island and I did not care for it but D picked.  It had that generic pasty filling taste the last time.  You certainly could not visually nor taste any distinct Red Peppers nor Goat Cheese.  When I buy on Granville, I pick ones I am fairly certain turn and cannot be screwed up.  Too many tourists on Granville who are not buying home grocery, you see.

Anyhoo, I am glad that D chose it because it was entirely different this time.  The pasta was thinner and you could make out the pale ghosts of the filling through it.  It appeared so delicate that when I tossed it in the Pesto, I feared I would break them open.  The filling was also different.  You could clearly see chunks of Red Pepper and the whiteness and not greyness of the binding Cheese.  The sharpness of the Goat Cheese was undeniable even underneath the Pesto.  It was great! I am having that again.

We could not decide on a sauce.  We almost did not use a sauce.  I thought about tossing it in some warm Garlic Oil with fresh Basil but D suggest the Pesto.   It was done before the water came to a boil for the pasta!

Cashew Basil Pesto

1 c packed Fresh Basil Leaves (extra Basil for Garnish)
1/3 c unsalted Cashews (if you have salted you can rinse and dry them or just do not add any more salt)
1/2 t Salt
1-2 cloves Garlic
1/4-1/2 good Olive Oil (depends on the texture you prefer)
1/2 c fresh Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small processor (we use the attachement that came with a handblender.  I also used to have a mini one about the size of a Coffee Grinder from my college days.  I gave it to O, my sister.  It is perfect for a job like this where you are not making a bulk batch), place the Nuts, Garlic and Basil (add basil in batches) in that order.

Blitz with a few pulses. Add a bit more Basil, the Salt and a drizzle of the Olive Oil.  This is described in the way you would do it with a small processor.  If you have dragged out your big one, add all the Basil and drizzle the oil in directly instead of opening the mini one.  Continue to add drizzles of the Oil until you achieve the consistency you want.  Add the Cheese by either grating directly into the processor or in a bowl and pouring in.  Blitz until combined.  Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Smear 2 T per person on a plate.  Place the Ravioli on the plate and toss gently.  Serve with more Basil leaves as garnish and of course more Parmesan.  MMMMM  the Cashews add a roundness that is velvetier than Pine Nuts.  As well, Cashews are much cheaper and less perishable than Pine Nuts.  You can use Almonds as well. 

First Ravioli Store
1900 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC V5N 4A7
(604) 255-8844

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