Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's what's for dinner!


I suspect I'm not alone in using dinner templates - a basic pattern or outline in which ingredients get filled in, to save thinking late in the day. Here's my latest one, which will be adapted to seasonal conditions as the year goes on.


Ravioli Bowl with Vegetables

First, you need some ravioli, or other stuffed pasta. If you make this sort of thing yourself, great; otherwise buy some (the fresh kind that cooks in a few minutes). You'll cook it near the end of the dinner-making process. I've made this template thus far with vegetable, shrimp, and portobello mushroom ravioli.

You'll also need:

  • Fresh salad greens with an interesting taste: watercress, mache, arugula, baby spinach, etc.
  • Vegetables that will cook well together in a pan. Anything goes, just about. Seasonal and/or home-grown is best!
  • Feta or other crumbly cheese. You could also add Parmesan or other grating cheese.
  • Seasonings as desired. Pesto is really good. Fresh basil leaves are awesome.
  • Olive oil, and probably balsamic vinegar.

Get the vegetables ready - wash, peel, chop as necessary. Some may need to be pre-cooked in order to come out tender. Sauté them together in the olive oil. The above dish used wintered-over kale (first demo garden harvest!), onions, and peppers. I've also used brussels sprouts (sliced thin), carrots (julienne-cut), and broccoli. Sweet potato or squash (cut into cubes and steamed) would be delicious. Tomatoes will be great in summer. Et cetera.

Season as desired while cooking. Splash the balsamic vinegar around liberally.

If using pesto, mix it in when the vegetables are almost cooked. You are also cooking the pasta at this point (it usually takes 5-7 minutes, but remember to get the water simmering ahead of time).

Layer in a bowl: first the fresh greens, roughly torn; then the hot ravioli, then anything else you only want to get warm but not cooked, like fresh basil, or avocado; then the mixed veggies; then crumble cheese on top. Serve with a big spoon so you can scoop up all the layers at once.

This can be varied by taste in infinite ways. Suggest things!

4 comments:

  1. Erica, this is such a great post! Meal templates are a terrific idea and I love this one.

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    1. Let me know what innovations you come up with!

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  2. Erica, I really enjoying reading what you write. It's such a nice mix of creativity and practical information, where you admit what doesn't go well and share what does. Funny that you should post this just now - last night I made some scrambled eggs and then sauteed spinach from the garden and mixed in some orange-flavored olive oil and feta cheese. What a quick, delicious and satisfying meal! I'm having fun right now trying to keep up with my spinach, beet greens, and lettuce, so thanks for these tips.

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    1. Thanks! - and yum, that sounds good.

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