Ravioli with ricotta and walnuts is a dish of my own invention. While making Christmas cookies I had a good bit of walnuts left over. Since nuts go stale I wanted to make good use of them. I began to think how I might incorporate them into Christmas dinner. One option was to toss them over the antipasto. I’m sure the walnuts would be a wonderful complement to the sliced meets.
Grinding the walnuts down finely and mixing them into the straciatella would thicken the soup and certainly add an unexpected element. But adding nuts to straciatella might be going a bit too far with respect to tradition. Then it hit me. My daughters had asked for ravioli as the pasta course for Christmas day. Why not mix the crushed walnuts with the ricotta filling. Walnuts and cheese make excellent partners. For the sauce a cream sauce was in order.Tomato would overwhelm the subtlety of the walnuts. I also wanted something with a Christmas taste.
One of the fine points of making ravioli or any other ricotta recipe is the quality of the cheese. I am lucky enough to have Carlino’s in the neighborhood. Carlino’s prepares the finest ricotta impastata. Ricotta impastata is a creamy dense cheese that bears no resemblance to grocery store ricotta. If you cannot find ricotta impastata, be sure that you drain the regular ricotta. When you prepare the ravioli, be sure to pinch them closed by hand. The ravioli cutter does not always make a tight seal. After the ravioli have floated to the type to let you know they are done, turn them into the sauce and let them finish there for another minute or so. This allows the lemon cream to penetrate the pasta. Although I made this ravioli for Christmas the lemon freshness would be an equally good dish for a Spring Sunday dinner.
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