Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Lazy Night's Dinner

This week, I've been in Rhode Island, helping to take care of my family's two labs (this is their debut, so I've included a picture from their ride out over the Invisible Fence for a walk). This early in the season, the regular local farmer's markets are not up and running yet. The local grocery store, as much as I love it and the immense variety and quality of goods they stock, does not supply the organic and fresh produce I'm looking for. And, when you're as tired as I've been this week, driving to Providence to go to Whole Foods is just not in the books. Plus, it requires me driving the car -- which I have only done ONCE since Sunday. Gotta love being green =)

So last night, 5pm rolled around, I was utterly fatigued from a big bike ride and walking the dogs, was curled up in the sun reading a cookbook I got my mom for Mother's Day...and STARVING. I clearly had kind of left myself in a bit of a pickle for dinner. The night prior, I had sauteed up some wild mushrooms and dried porcinis for a lovely mushroom ragu with my spinach and ricotta raviolis, and served it with a simple arugula and avocado salad. But, I was left with 1/4 of a box of arugula, a handful of mache, no more vegetables in the house...but some strange odds and ends. A link of my favorite smoked gouda and apple sausage and five winter squash raviolis lay in the freezer. Plus, I had a bit of dried cherries and cranberries left over from the granola I made. Add to that the wonderful dried figs I had purchased Monday, and I had a dinner idea! Raviolis with chicken sausage, dried fruit and toasted pistachios in a brown butter sauce with a lovely Tuscan-inspired green salad with mushrooms, parmigiano and balsamico.

First off, I prepped the water for my raviolis and chopped up my dried fruit (I used the dried cherries cranberries whole, and chopped up my figs. I had some dried plums that we incredibly dry, so I reconstituted them in a bit of hot water, then chopped them in half). I then cooked my chicken sausage. Ok, I have to admit I used the microwave to defrost and reheat it since I didn't want to clean the grill after cooking one sausage. I know. Lazy, right?

Once the water was boiling, I added in my ravioli and then got started on the salad. I tossed what greens I had left over with a heaping tablespoon of my sauteed mushrooms from the night before. I grated on top some parmigiano for a saltier flavor, a pinch of Maldon salt, a drizzle of some rich balsamico and a light pour of olive oil. I gently tossed the mixture together and plated it (and sampled it, too).

Once the raviolis were done, I drained them and saved a bit of the pasta water. In a small sauteuse, I heated up about a tablespoon of my favorite "pasture" butter, made from milk produced by cows grazing on spring grasses. It's amazing stuff. I then heated it until it began to brown.

When properly browned, I quickly added in my raviolis, dried fruit, and a bit of pasta water. I gently tossed this mixture to coat all ingredients and brought to a simmer to reduce the sauce. I plated my raviolis along side my salad, and tossed some toasted pistachios on top, and voila -- dinner is served.  

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