Thirty Minute Thursdays: Wonderful Walnut-Spinach Pesto over a Homemade Ravioli Flop

This week did not go as planned. I sat down on Tuesday to write about these to-die-for petit fours cakes that I had made over the holiday weekend, and just then, the phone rang. My grandfather. A fall. A broken hip. Maybe fractured. I spent the rest of the day at the hospital, keeping both him and my grandmother company while he waited to be taken into surgery. Thankfully, the fracture was small and the surgery went well, and he is now on the road to recovery.

All of this to say, my plans for the past two days were thrown out the window, and all of the productivity I had planned for – including things related to this blog – were little more than a joke. I felt a twinge of regret for being so absent, though understandably so, over the holiday weekend, and had every intention of coming back this week full force. And suddenly, it’s already Thursday, and so the petits fours will have to wait at least one more day, making way for a Thirty Minute Thursday post.

One of my latest meals from Rachael Ray’s book was a mushroom ravioli with a walnut-spinach pesto. The recipe was actually for tortellini and pesto, using pre-made frozen cheese tortellini, but I have always wanted to try making my own. So, I followed the recipe for the pesto, and instead of dumping some frozen ravioli into a pot of boiling water, I laid out my newly purchased wonton wrappers and got to work on a different recipe for fresh ravioli I had bookmarked most likely centuries ago.

The ravioli were a total bust. I don’t really know what happened, though I’m thinking I may have boiled them too long, since they absolutely fell to pieces. It was, as I so aptly wrote in my notes about this dish, a hot mess. I also didn’t find the crudely salvaged meal to be particularly filling, despite the high-fat and, therefore, high-calorie nature of pesto. Making the pesto with a cheese-filled tortellini would likely solve that problem, but so could throwing in a protein like tofu, chicken, or fish.

The pesto itself, on the other hand, was very nice. It was easy to come together, though maybe it wound up being less pureed than I typically expect from a pesto sauce. This is either a result of my “trusty” little mini-chopper that I use instead of a real food processor, or just the nature of the recipe itself. It was even a little spicy, and I can’t quite place why that was (there’s really nothing in it that has any heat). The combination of spices must have just come together in this synergistic way so that the sauce was greater than the sum of its parts. Or, my taste buds have gone totally wacky and you should no longer listen to a word I say. Let’s go with the first one, ok?

One Year Ago: Oatmeal, 3 Ways

Walnut-Spinach Pesto, courtesy of Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: enough for 10 servings of pasta

The Ingredients
4 ounces chopped walnuts
1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
10 ounces baby spinach
4 cloves garlic
⅔ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

The Method
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan on the stove or in the toaster oven until lightly browned, shaking occasionally and checking often. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a sauce pan and then remove from the heat. Working in batches, puree the spinach, walnuts, broth, and garlic in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. If using for pasta, add the cooked pasta and toss until evenly coated.


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