Super Sized

Dinner:  September 4, 2007

This meal was inspired by a couple of different dishes: the first, a lovely house-made ravioli with a light, fresh tomato sauce we had at Chez Lola recently, and the second a garden tomato “elixir” prepared by Lidia Bastianich on one of her television shows. Since we had a few heirloom tomatoes that were near-overripe, I liked the idea of preparing them as Lidia did her elixir and using that to sauce some (almost) homemade ravioli.


Lola’s ravioli was stuffed with shredded duck, and while it was absolutely delicious, after all the meat we ate this weekend I wanted to prepare a meatless version. I combined about 8 oz. each of sheep’s milk ricotta and soft fresh goat cheese (Consider Bardwell’s yummy Mettowee), blended in an egg, a pinch of salt and some chopped opal basil from our garden, and that was our filling.

pasta sheets

I decided to go for really big ravioli (which I guess are technically raviolo). I laid out a sheet of pasta on a floured board and made three little mounds of the cheese filling, a couple of tablespoons each, then brushed water around the edges, laid another sheet of pasta on top, pressed and sealed. I cut the pasta into three squares using a pizza cutter, set them aside on a floured platter, and repeated the process with my remaining pasta and filling. (Full disclosure: I did not make the pasta for this. When we have more than a 2 foot by 2 foot square of counter space to work with, I’ll happily get out the old pasta machine and make it from scratch again. For now, store-bought will do the trick.)


While I got a big pot of water boiling to cook the pasta, I made the sauce. I cored and roughly chopped three really ripe heirloom tomatoes and set them in a sieve over a bowl, squeezing and pressing them to extract their juices. I added a pinch of salt and several opal basil leaves and let it sit while I sautéed a few smashed Rocambole garlic cloves in olive oil. I added the tomato elixir and warmed it just briefly while the pasta cooked. I spooned a little of the sauce onto our plates, and as each of the raviolo finished cooking, I gave them a quick dunk in the pan of sauce before plating them, grating a little Pecorino Romano on top.

The raviolo were a bit unwieldy, but the flavor of both sauce and filling was excellent, and we somehow managed to polish off the entire batch. I plan to make this again while heirloom tomatoes are still in season, but I’ll likely downsize our pasta pillows – this is a case where bigger isn’t necessarily better.

11 thoughts on “Super Sized

  1. Jennifer Hess says:

    Nope, the tomato pulp and seeds went into our compost bin for this recipe – I wanted a really light, almost brothy texture for this sauce.

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, Patricia! I was really, really pleased with the filling. I bet it would work well with a different fresh herb mixed in – chives, mint, or even parsley come to mind.

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hey, you guys don’t do so bad over there, either – those clams casino were making me droool!

    (for some reason I can’t leave comments on your site – odd)

  4. The City Cook says:

    Hello Jennifer — I recently had my first experience in making ravioli and we have an article on it at which includes photos of the actual assembly. I think your filling recipe sounds more interesting than the classic all-ricotta one I used and I love your tomato “elixir” instead of a typical sauce. I found a wonderful source for sheets of fresh pasta dough — Cassinelli’s in Astoria. Instead of being separated by corn meal, the sheets of pasta dough are separated by plastic wrap. The pasta is the perfect weight and thickness for ravioli (or raviolo) and has a great flavor. Ravioli aside, I love your site and visit often. Kate McDonough,

  5. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, Kate! The addition of goat cheese to the filling added a nice bit of tang, and the sauce was fresh and light – a good summer sauce, I think. 🙂

    I’ll definitely have to check out Cassinelli’s – thanks so much for the tip, and thanks for reading! I’m a big fan of your site as well!

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