Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Bacon Sauce and a side of Thoughts

I was reading a cookbook by a famous-ish cookbook author today and at the introduction of the appetizer section she writes, "I try to approach every meal as if it were a celebration..."
"Really?" I thought, "This doesn't get exhausting for you?"
Ugh, that sounds like the worst. I love planning menus, but "approaching every meal like a celebration" just makes for an over-tired mom and a wife that won't put out. Not a win-win.

Instead, I approach cooking calmly and collectedly and like someone who doesn't have a housekeeper. On Sunday night I make a loose menu for the week, on Monday go shopping and make sure my fridge and pantry are stocked, and every day I assess: How much time do I have? What will trick my toddler into eating vegetables? What sounds delicious?

Sometimes I time-splurge and make gnocchi from scratch while leaving everything else, toddler excluded, unattended. But give me a break, that only works when the stars align. Most of time I rely on my bag of tricks and make something that is quick and covers most of the food groups.

Last Monday this more or less fit both:

Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Bacon Sauce*
(Disclaimer: I got the idea to put bacon in the sauce from a friend. Please no one sue me.)

Serves 2.5

1.5 lbs of any frozen cheese ravioli (I used Kirkland), cooked according to instructions on package

6 strips of low-sodium bacon, roughly chopped
1 tblsp (good, if you can) olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Two medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tblsp parsley
Pepper to taste

Add bacon to a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 4-8 min or until bacon is barely crispy and has rendered its fat. Add olive oil and garlic, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant then turn off burner and add tomatoes (make sure you get the juices from the tomatoes) along with parsley. Add pepper to taste.

Drain the ravioli, put in a medium bowl then pour tomato bacon sauce over it, toss and serve.

*Do not, I repeat, DO NOT salt this without tasting it first. Even if you use low-sodium bacon, this dish is plenty salty as is. You've been warned.

Serve this at room temperature with a green salad and it makes a very nice summer dinner. If you're vegetarian you might want to try tofu bacon or substituting bacon altogether for deeply caramelized onions (recipe below). If you choose the onion option, you are allowed to salt the sauce a bit.

Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.

Caramelized Onions
4 tblsp butter
1 tblsp olive oil
2 medium white or yellow onions, preferably Walla Walla or Vidalia, thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

Note: Non-stick pans will work but cast iron or stainless steel are preferable for the delicious browning.

Melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, sugar and salt. Occasionally stir, scraping up brown bits. Cook until onions are a deep golden color. This may take a while, about 20-30 min. Just throw these on the stove first and then make the rest of the meal. Make sure you taste for salt at the end, adjusting little by little.


  1. Hmmm, this sounds a little tomato-y for me, but I am so excited you're doing a food blog! I've been toying with that idea for a while too.

  2. I LOVE the idea of you writing a food blog. I will be following you faithfully.

  3. what i'm loving about this, besides simplicity, is the serving size. finally something to fit my little fam of 2! carry on

  4. So glad you are doing a food blog! This recipe sounds good and the recipe for the carmelized onions has me thinking of trying them with goat cheese on a pizza. Can't wait to see what else you'll be cooking!