This indulgent creamy cheese and spinach sauce pairs so well with ravioli. Ready in just 10 minutes, this is the perfect dish to serve when friends drop round. Post in collaboration with Giovani Rana.
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How central is food in your life? I don’t mean food as pure sustenance – I mean food as an indulgence, as a creative outlet and a way to bring family and friends together. Food was very central in my life from a very young age – as it is in most Italian and Greek households.
Meals were a family event and frequently included not just the family but also friends and neighbours that happened to drop in. Festive meals were huge occasions – my mum would start prepping several days in advance and would often commandeer the oven of the lady from the first floor flat in order to prepare the celebratory dishes.
I seem to have inherited this role of the perpetual hostess from my mother. Nothing makes me happier that preparing and sharing food with friends – whether this is planned or spur of the moment. In fact spur of the moment is becoming the norm lately – we have become so close with the family next door that we have connected our two gardens allowing the kids to wander freely and impromptu dinner parties to blossom.
Pasta is usually on the table on these occasions – nothing is quicker to prepare or as crowd pleasing (even with fussy little people). Stands to reason too – for me Italian food is synonymous with gatherings and family and nothing brings people together more than good food and a glass or two of wine.
I recently discovered the Giovanni Rana brand and I am in love with their range of filled pasta. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it tastes fresh and homemade. Since the pasta is so fresh it cooks in only four minutes – and it is important not to overcook it. It sounds crazy, but it is really easy to get something as simple as cooking pasta wrong.
Cook the pasta in a large pot (something I keep reminding my husband weekly) filled with plenty of water. Bring the water to the boil, add a generous pinch of salt and only then add the pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer and skip adding oil – it is not needed and will make your sauce slide off!
My favourite ravioli is filled with gorgonzola and walnuts and it tastes just great with just a little melted butter and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. But if you want to enjoy it in a really indulgent way then try my recipe – it is incredibly rich and you only need a small taste so ideal for sharing! When adding the sauce to the ravioli don’t overwhelm it, just a little of the sauce is enough to bring out the best in the pasta.
Creamy Cheese and Spinach Ravioli Sauce
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 large shallots , very finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves , very finely diced
- large splash dry Vermouth (or white wine)
- 150 g | 5.3oz gorgonzola cheese , crumbled
- 150 ml | 5fl oz single (pouring) cream (or a little more, to taste)
- 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves , stalks removed
- handful walnuts , roughly chopped
- small bunch flat leaf parsley , finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- 500 g | 1 pound fresh vegetarian ravioli
- Heat the butter in a large pan and sweat the shallots for 5 minutes over low heat until soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute.
- Increase the heat slightly and then add the vermouth or wine.
- Once the sizzling subsides, add the cream and cheese and stir together over low heat until the cheese melts. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the spinach leaves and stir together until they start to wilt. Keep the sauce warm.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the ravioli.
- Reduce heat to a rolling simmer and gently stir the ravioli. Cook for 4 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
- Spoon the sauce over the pasta and then sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and parsley. Serve immediately.