Sun-Dried Tomato and Tofu Ravioli in Pesto

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 top-notch restaurant but even happier eating in your own back yard (or 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, egg-free, fresh pasta maker. Well done, you!

Ingredients

Ravioli Filling

1 x 400g firm tofu, medium-press

50g or ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar)

50g or 1 cup dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes (in a packet)

(or double up the sun-dried tomatoes in oil if you don’t have these)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pasta

260g or 2 cups plain, all-purpose flour

1 tsp olive oil

110ml or ½ cup water

Pinch salt

Pesto

75g or 1/3 cup pine nuts

60g or ¼ cup cashew nuts

110ml or ½ cup olive oil

1 tsp dried basil

35g or 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

4 cloves garlic

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Chop up the dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and place in a bowl. Pour a little boiling water over them, just enough to cover. In a separate bowl, crumble in your pressed tofu with your fingertips, making sure it is well crumbled. Drain the excess oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in oil, pat them dry and chop up into small pieces.  Add the nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp salt and grind in the black pepper. Mix well together with your hands so you get a smooth consistency and leave covered in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

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 with your hands 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 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.

Cover the parcels with the pesto and serve piping hot with chopped, cherry tomatoes on the side, an extra drizzle of pesto on the plate and garnish with a basil leaf.

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