For dinner this evening, I wanted to make a tomato and cream sauce to go over stuffed ravioli as it would allow me to use the remainder of the parsley and ricotta filling I needed for the dish I made yesterday. While I considered reaching for our normal tomato and cream sauce, I decided to be productive by at least testing one more recipe from Marcella Hazan.
Specifically, I opted for the Italian cookbook I have now recommended at least a dozen times as I consider it one of the few, absolutely must-have tomes every person should have in his or her kitchen. I also thought it a bit unfair were I to use one of her other cookbooks that are sitting in my library, as those of you who have bought it wouldn’t have access to the recipes I referenced. For those of you who want to make this yourself – and it’s delicious – the tomato and cream sauce can be found on page 155-156, and the stuffing for the ravioli can be found on page 210. She also has several other stuffing recipes you can substitute based on your own tastes and preferences, or you could find one online. I think it would be a great match for a lobster or crab ravioli, myself.
[mainbodyad]The entire meal – tomato and cream sauce and stuffed ravioli in its entirety – is capable of serving six people, with each plate being 431 calories + whatever cheese you want to shave on top when serving at the table, if any. They are good sized, but not huge, portions, so you’d want a salad or some other side at the table. These figures don’t include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil in which the pasta cooks, but virtually all of the water is discarded when the pasta is drained. Still, if you want to be conservative, round it up to 440 calories per serving.
I haven’t added up the exact cost, but the per serving expense in terms of raw ingredients should be less than $2.75 based on a very quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation, and that’s for high quality ingredients. Each serving consists of:
1 tomato (sauce)
0.89 teaspoons butter (sauce)
0.5 tablespoons carrots (sauce)
0.5 tablespoons celery (sauce)
0.5 tablespoons onion (sauce)
0.84 eggs (pasta and ravioli stuffing)
0.34 cups of flour (pasta)
2.67 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese (ravioli stuffing)
0.084 cups chopped parsley (ravioli stuffing)
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese (ravioli stuffing)
2.84 tablespoons heavy cream (sauce and pasta)
The recipe requires 1.5 pounds of fresh homemade pasta, which you can make into ravioli, tortelloni, tortelli, or any other shape you desire. Normally, with stuffed pasta, you have to add a bit of milk, and I discovered upon opening the refrigerator that we had run out a few hours earlier, so I substituted a tiny amount of heavy cream with a bit of water. It turned out great.
If you’re a person who loves fresh vegetables, and rich sauces, this is an amazing dish. Aaron liked it very much, but is crazy about the more decadent, almost French version, of the tomato and cream sauce from America’s Test Kitchen. I think they’re just different and can see how you would want a certain sauce on a certain day.
[mainbodyad]I’m looking forward to lunch tomorrow because I had quite a bit of extra sauce left over as I scaled the recipe a bit different for my own family, meaning I’ll be able to grab a box of penne from the pasta war comparisons, and throw it together in under 15 minutes with very little work (I literally have to reheat the sauce and boil the water for the pasta; it couldn’t be any easier).
The nice thing is, you can actually freeze the tomato sauce right before you add the cream, then turn this into an on-demand dish for family and friends by bringing it out, reheating it, adding the cream, and tossing it with your favorite pasta shape. I’m a big fan. I hope several of you take the time to learn this because it’s a great trick to have up your sleeve! With the right amount of discipline, you could cook one or two days of the month, have everything prepared up to a certain point, and then make near insta-meals with very little, if any, quality degradation, saving your family enormous amounts of cash on your food bills. Not only would eat like royalty, the reduced expenses would be a nice chunk of change every year. I’d guess a family of four could shave several thousand bucks off their food bills if they managed it correctly. Who wouldn’t want an extra 50 or 100 shares of Unilever? Who wouldn’t want some extra Coca-Cola stock? Do it each year, stick it or a low-cost index fund in the kids’ college accounts, and it should add up to something meaningful by the time they reach adulthood. Very few situations in life are win-win-win, and this is one of them.