4 March 2010

Ravioli with Spring Vegetables for Presto Pasta Nights

Ravioli with Spring Vegetables

Presto Pasta Nights is celebrating it's 3rd Birthday. This is certainly a HUGE milestone in the blogosphere and something to celebrate!!!!  I try and join in on the fun whenever I have pasta over at Presto Pasta Nights. There are so many pasta shapes and possibilities that I could easily have pasta every day of the year. I want to have pasta every day of the year!!!! I missed out on that New Year resolution. Presto Pasta Nights event has been the baby of  Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast for 3 glorious years. Whenever we feel the urge for some pasta we can go over to her site and have 3 years of entries from all over the world to choose from from pasta salad to lasagna to pho. To show my support I have brought a Spring pasta dish since all that the season has to offer is just around the corner. It's time to give winter "the boot"!!!!!

I saw my first Robin a few weeks ago and  to me this is always the first sign of Spring. The garden centre opened yesterday so that is the second sign. Did you see me there picking up some colourful pansies and primrose to plant in my pots?

Spring is when everything seems to come alive!!!!! The days are longer and the markets begin to burst with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. For those who are lucky enough to live near a farmers market as I am, we would be hard pressed not to be aware of which fruits are at the peak of their season. Pods of fresh peas and stalks of beautifully green asparagus will cook beautifully in a sauce of lemon zest, butter, mint and tossed with pappardelle or fettucini noodles. This is the time to enjoy fresh rhubarb, sweet garden peas and furled fiddleheads . It is the season for escarole and a wide variety of lettuce handplucked from the garden for green salads. I am chomping at the bit and may even plant mesclun on my patio. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season your dishes. All of these tastes of Spring are bursting from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes.

The beauty of cooking with ingredients that are freshest in the Spring months are their pure simplicity. The standout flavours are the fresh, natural ingredients themselves... the sweet taste of a carrot or the pop of a freshly shelled pea. This pasta dish creates a pesto-like sauce of frozen peas. This is an excellent way to rush Spring since fresh garden peas are not ready quite yet. I did say I was chomping at the bit!!!The subtle Spring flavour of garden mint makes me want to eat this every day!!!!Throw in some Spring vegetables like asparagus, snow peas or sugar snap peas and some tender baby spinach and you have a winner!!!

**Ravioli with Spring Vegetables**

2 packages (9 oz. each) cheese-filled ravioli or tortellini
2 -1/2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
2 - 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon olive or salad oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bunch thin asparagus, cut on deep bias (angle)
1 cup sugar snap peas
3 - 4 big handfuls baby spinach, washed (any stems removed - optional)
Salt and fresh-ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan

In a blender or food processor, purée peas, broth, 2 cups basil leaves, and mint leaves.

In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir or shake pine nuts until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Un same pan. add oil and garlic to pan; stir just until garlic begins to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add pea mixture and stir until steaming.

Into an extra-large pot of well-salted boiling water add the raviolis. After a few minutes, when a couple of the raviolis begin to float, add the asparagus and sugar snap peas. Because the asparagus is thin and the peas aren't frozen, you'll need to cook them only for about a 3 minutes or less - really quick, just enough to brighten up the peas and give the asparagus a touch of tenderness.

Drain everything into a large colander. Immediately add ravioli and Spring vegetable mixture mixture  to the pan with pureed pea and basil mixture. Add spinach and stir to coat all ingredients. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and sea salt. Serve in a big bowl or on a simple platter with a bit of shaved Parmesan on top.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.

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  1. I LOVE pureeing peas- the fresh Spring flavor it brings is wonderful. This recipe looks fabulous. Putting it on my must-try list!
    xoxo Pattie

  2. This looks so fresh and tasty! You should send a link to Lives To Create for her Sixteen Days of Green roundup! http://changeabletable.blogspot.com/2010/03/sixteen-days-of-green-all-call-for-your.html

  3. This looks so fresh and really says "Spring." Bring on the robins.

  4. This looks wonderful.Ravioli has been my favorite always:)

  5. Not a bog fan of pine nuts or pesto sauce, but it does look delicious.


  6. Val, this dish looks so fresh and I love the fresh, vibrant green colour throughout! Absolutely beautiful! Bring on the warmer weather!

  7. Yes this dish says spring! Love the peas and asparagus.

  8. I don't know why I never thought to put pesto on ravioli. Ravioli are defintiely one of my favorite pastas.

    Bring on spring! (How I wish)

  9. Hi Val, We both had peas on our mind maybe the sun shining longer is encouraging us to "think spring"!
    You've inspired me for another use for my puree, such great photos as always.
    Hugs to you!

  10. I love that you posted this delectable photo. I am now copying the recipe and making it tonight. Perfect for the melting snow and spring day today... and I love every ingredient in it!

  11. This is a perfect pasta dish that will certainly remind you of Spring. Love it.

    btw, I cannot wait till Spring.

  12. Fresh and so wonderfully spring-like!



  13. I love your deconstructed pesto! And I love home made reaviolis .. and as a rule, anything Italian!

  14. Valli, this dish is so dreamy... I can feel spring coming closer already! :-)

  15. This is, I think, one of my most favourite ways of eating pasta - so fresh and lovely. Sadly, not the right time of year here yet!

  16. Mmmmmmm, I could eat this just about every day of the year!

  17. Mmmmmmm, I could eat this just about every day of the year!

  18. I love these food. Good work.

  19. oh val, i love all the vibrant green veggies! this definitely screams "SPRING," but in the must enchanting way. :)

  20. I love all of the veggies you've infused in here. I can't wait for spring either...your robin sighting is infinitely more hopeful than this groundhog business. Hopefully it means that warmer weather and bounties of fruit is actually on the horizon!

  21. Lovely and fresh - I think I could have pasta every day of the week if I had too

  22. The only thing that would really set this on fire for me would be making the ravioli from scratch. I've just started doing this myself and I'm really shocked how easy it is and now I wonder what I was so intimidated by. I have my 6 year old crank the pasta machine, it's fun for the family to make them.

  23. I agree Steve. Actually the ravioli here are home made and frozen. I had the help of my Italian foodie buddy.

  24. I am loving the spring recipes! Delicious. Pasta is one of my best friends. :)

  25. Vall this look absolutely tasty, nice, gloria!

  26. That looks like spring, for sure!

  27. Well aren't you in a Springy kind of mood! Do you have your Easter bonnet on your head?

    I'm with you...I want to eat pasta every day too. And this is my favorite way to eat it -- with veggies.

  28. We are gearing up for winter, but at the moment we are having the last of the scorching hot days.....I wish I can muster up the courage to make my own ravioli!!! This meal makes me want to get out in the garden....

  29. Yum! What a great fresh way to serve ravioli!

  30. So beautiful, so timely and I know it's going to taste so delicious.

    BC is not only 4 hours behind us on the East Coast of Canada, it's also about 2 months (at least) ahead of us in terms of Spring. Can you see how green (with envy) I am?

    Thanks so much for sharing your amazing posts and dishes with Presto Pasta Nights.

  31. Love the colour, it screams Spring which really is here!

  32. Oh my goodness. This sounds lovely Val! I am eager for Spring!

  33. I love the sound of this pesto. I've bookmarked it to try when the weather gets a bit more springy and the produce doesn't look quite as bad as it does in the store right now. Great recipe!


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