This dish is comfort food masquerading as gourmet dining. It looks really impressive and the combination of tastes suggests complex preparation and exceptional ingredients. But the reality is that it’s incredibly simple. The range of flavours is awesome; umami ricotta-stuffed ravioli combined with zesty-garlicky basil pesto. You would be happy to be served this at a posh restaurant but even happier eating in your own back yard (garden) on a sunny evening with a glass of something fizzy. This is a dish to wow your friends. It takes approximately 40 minutes to prepare and the constituent parts can be made in advance and kept in the fridge. Having made this you will also be endowed with the status of home-made fresh pasta maker. Egg-free, obvs.
- 1 400g block tofu – medium pressed
- ½ cup (50g) sun dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar)
- 1 cup (50g) dehydrated sun dried tomatoes (in a packet)
- 3tbsp (30g) nutritional yeast
- 2 cups (260g) plain flour
- 1 tsp (4.6g) olive oil
- ½ cup (1/8 litre) water
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup (75g) pine nuts
- ¼ cup (60g) cashew nuts
- ½ cup (1/8 litre) olive oil
- 1 tsp (3g) dried basil
- 1 cup (35g) fresh basil leaves, packed
- 4 cloves garlic
- Juice of ½ lemon
Chop up the dehydrated sun dried tomatoes and place in a bowl. Pour a little bit of boiling water over them, just enough to cover. Once done, crumble some medium pressed (approx 1 hour) tofu into a large bowl. Make sure you crumble it well. Drain the excess oil from the sun dried tomatoes in oil, pat them dry and chop up into small pieces. Add the nutritional yeast and ¼ level tsp salt and grind in the black pepper. Mix well together with your hands and leave covered in the fridge while you get on with the rest of the prep.
To make the pasta, sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Form a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the water and oil. Stir until well mixed and then kneed until you get a smooth, pastry consistency. Add more water or flour to get the right consistency, the dough should hold together in a ball without sticking to your hands.
Roll the pasta into a sausage shape and cut 1/3 off. This will be the bottom layer. Roll out this bottom layer until it is very thin, about 1 mm thick. Place a small ball of the ricotta mixture, about 3-4 cm in diameter, equally spaced onto the rolled out pasta.
Roll out the other 2/3 of the pasta, equally as thin and lay it loosely over the bottom sheet. Round the pastry carefully over the ricotta balls using your hands and then cut out around each mound, leaving ½ cm around the outside. If you happen to have a square ravioli cutter this would be the perfect opportunity to use it. We actually do have one which makes the process easier and the ravioli ends up in uniform shapes. It isn’t completely necessary though.
Next, make the pesto by combining all the ingredients into your mixer and blend to combine. Stop to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and continue until you have achieved a smooth consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. When the water is simmering away, add the ravioli parcels one at a time and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
Coat each parcel evenly on both sides with the pesto and serve piping hot with chopped, cherry tomatoes on the side, an extra drizzle of pesto on the plate (see above: gourmet) and garnish with a basil leaf.