It's February now. I don't have to post about uber health food anymore. Resolutions have been made and broken by now, right?
No, truly. The collard wraps had nothing to do with resolutions, but everything to do with being so fantastic I needed to share. Please eat them throughout the year. But today is about pasta. Sorta.
I wouldn't really say I'm a lover of pasta. My list of acceptable pasta dishes is short and sweet, and most of them I learned from my Mom. There's nothing particularly wrong with pasta, it's just that it rarely sparks much of an interest for me. Weird, I know; you can add it to the list. But then there was this incredible pasta dish on my birthday at A16 and it's been on my mind ever since.
This ravioli salad is on that short list. Mostly because I like Ms. Swanson's approach of seriously upping the vegetable content so it never feels like much of a pasta based dish. More like little pillows of ravioli tucked into and hiding amongst a colorful medley of seasonal veggies. I've made this I don't know many times. In a kitchen, my kitchen, that is always seeking out something new new new, this one manages to tempt me into repetition. I don't know which part is more genius - the use of hazelnuts (which are so underrated, so under used), or the dusting of lemon zest to top it off. You can change around which green you choose, pick between butternut squash or sweet potato, and even the kind of ravioli doesn't really matter. As long as you've got the toasted hazelnuts and lemon zest.
In light of Punxsutawney Phil predicting another six weeks of winter by managing to see his shadow yesterday (Side note: Letting groundhogs predict weather patterns? Who came up with that one?) I thought I would share something that celebrated the cooler weather. You've got plenty more time to make this salad.
Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli SaladAdapted from 101 cookbooks
This time around I used a wild mushroom ravioli, but really, it will work with most any kind of veggie/cheese combination. I've also made it with kale instead of swiss chard, either is a delicious option. Using sweet potatoes for the "croutons" is my preference simply because I then don't have to figure out what to do/make with the leftover butternut squash, but by all means use whichever makes you happiest. Just don't leave out the lemon zest and toasted hazelnuts!
3/4 lb. raviolis
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
fine grain sea salt
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, deveined and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup sweet potato "croutons"
zest of one lemon
For the croutons: dice 1 1/2 cups sweet potato into 1/3 inch cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the potatoes and toss so they are coated with the oil. Sprinkle with the salt. Now cover the skillet and let the potatoes cook through, this will take about three minutes. When the potatoes are just cooked through remove the lid and give them a good toss. Turn up the heat to medium-high and stir every minute or so until the potatoes look golden and crispy.
Into an extra-large pot of well-salted boiling water add the raviolis. After a few minutes, when the raviolis float and are cooked through, drain them and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside.
To caramelize the onions, heat another tablespoon of the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed skillet with a pinch of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions collapse and turn golden in color. Add the sliced swiss chard and stir until just wilted. Add the raviolis and sweet potato croutons and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Here you can either mix in the lemon zest, parmesan and hazelnuts or transfer everything over to a big platter and top it all off with the zest, hazelnuts and cheese, the choice is yours.