Featured Recipe - Asparagus and Pepper Saute with Ravioli|
by Wen Zientek-Sico
I like having a large collection of attractive, easy, and delicious meals that I can whip up on a moments notice for last minute entertaining. As red peppers and asparagus can both commonly be found in my kitchen, and we always have frozen cheese ravioli and Parmesan cheese on hand, this dish is great to rely on when I have guests stop in unexpectedly, find out I have a vegetarian guest that I did not realize was vegetarian, or as sometimes happens, have a disastrous day in the test kitchen and need something yummy, quick, and edible for dinner.
Asparagus and Pepper Saute with Ravioli
I know some people prefer their asparagus to be mushy - but I adore crisp asparagus. Some days I barely cook it to make sure it is really crisp, and I only ever cook the tips for a minute or two to prevent them from getting even slightly mushy. You can use frozen or canned asparagus in a pinch, but the results are just not the same if you prefer crisp asparagus. Any kind of frozen or fresh ravioli can be used - commercial or homemade - as long as it sounds good to you. Spinach, cheddar, salmon, herbed, and even cheese and pancetta have been excellent - but I would stay away from meat filled ravioli. If you do not need this to be a vegetarian dish, you can use chicken broth, or splurge and use half water and half butter for a richer dish.
16 ounces fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium diced onion
2 diced red bell peppers
2 minced garlic cloves
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds or fourths
1/2 cup rich vegetable stock or broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Dash cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm until ready to serve. While the ravioli is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for three minutes. Add the bell peppers, garlic, and the lower 2/3 or 3/4 of the asparagus spears. (You will add the tips later.) Saute for three minutes more. Add the vegetable stock, Parmesan cheese, cayenne, and reserved asparagus and cook over high heat until the sauce thickens and the asparagus is bright green and tender, but not mushy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus mixture with the ravioli and serve hot.
Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes