Nope, I didn’t make the ravioli. Wish I had – aren’t they pretty?
The ravioli are Pasta Prima’s Butternut Squash Ravioli, and they are nestled in a fresh tomato, nasturtium flower (yes, really) and goat cheese sauce I whipped up for them.
Every now and then I receive emails from companies asking if I’d like to try a sample of this product or offer a giveaway for that one. I used to just say yes to everything, because, basically, it often meant free stuff for me. I admit it. I was blinded by greed.
But somewhere along the line I realized I didn’t enjoy writing about things I didn’t really care about or wasn’t impressed by, no matter what free goodie I got out of the deal. I wasn’t being paid to write about these things, so why should I waste my time just for a cookbook I’d never use or something like that? I guess I grew some integrity.
Anyway, when I was recently contacted by Pasta Prima, I almost said no. Just because I didn’t feel like having to write about something I didn’t grow or make myself.
So I sat on it for a few days. And then I emailed back and said sure, I’d love to try the ravioli.
Now you know.
I will whore myself for pasta.
But it has to be good, yummy pasta. And these three packages from Pasta Prima were very good and very yummy. Bill and the kids enjoyed them, too. My favorite, in case you’re interested, was the wild mushroom. Butternut came in second. But I liked the colors of the butternut, which is why I used it in the cooking portion of this post.
Now, the reason for the sauce? Pasta Prima was having a contest – you come up with a sauce inspired by one of their pastas, and submit it to them and you could win a bunch of kitchen tools and/or be included on their Facebook page.
So I made a sauce, inspired solely by the red and white pattern of the butternut squash ravioli.
(In addition to the 3 packages of fresh ravioli, Pasta Prima also sent their “Ravioli Reinvention Kit” – intended to inspire me in my culinary tinkering. It included a tote bag, a slotted bamboo spoon (nice!), a chef’s hat (no, sorry, I don’t do hats), a couple of recipe cards, and a packet containing seeds and potting soil and instructions so we could grow our own parsley. Now, I love the idea of encouraging people to grow their own fresh herbs. But parsley? I think something like oregano or basil might have been more inspiring. Or thyme. But that’s just me. Plus we always have way more parsley growing outside than we ever use. Even if we garnish with wild abandon.
I have to say I didn’t utilize anything in the kit when I was coming up with my sauce idea, but I do like the bamboo slotted spoon, and while it might not inspire me, it will certainly get plenty of use here.
So. Like I said, my sole inspiration was the look of the butternut squash ravioli.
Red and white stripes. Pretty.
My first thought was some sort of herbed sauce…something NOT red, something that wouldn’t hide the stripes.
But then I thought…hey, we have a couple of white tomatoes! And a handful of yellow pear tomatoes, too. I could make a white tomato sauce! Wouldn’t that be kind of cool?
And then I thought some more…the red…I wanted to pick up the red a bit, too…..but not with red tomatoes….no…and our chili peppers haven’t turned red yet, but they might drown out the delicate flavor of the squash anyway…hmmm…..and then I thought of using nasturtium flowers. They’re edible, they’re red or orange-red, and best of all, they’re growing in our back gardens. So I picked about 25 blossoms. And a couple of leaves. (Actually thinking ahead for the plating part!)
Nasturtium leaves have a peppery flavor, kind of like arugula, and I thought I remembered that the leaves had that same slight bite to them as well. They didn’t, actually, but that was okay.
So, a few tomatoes, a handful of flowers…I needed more.
I had some homemade chevre in the fridge…it’s white, so it would play nicely with my culinary color scheme.
And I love goat cheese, so I look for any excuse I can find to include it in recipes.
In search of another flavor component, I turned to the freezer and my little stash of pureed roasted garlic. One cube should do the trick.
I put all my ingredients, plus some salt and pepper, in the food processor and pureed everything until it was nearly smooth.
I loved the flavor – the fresh tomato flavor was very prominent, and goat cheese added thickness and a bit of tang. Flavor – lovely.
Fresh tomatoes are watery.
Goat cheese is not.
And so the whole thing, while very yummy, wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever come up with. I should, perhaps, have left out the goat cheese. Used something smoother, like, say, plain yogurt or sour cream. Or I could have cooked the tomatoes to get rid of some of the liquid.
But hey, that’s what happens when you’re experimenting in the kitchen. Sometimes everything’s the way you imagined it, other times, your sauce weeps a bit. And that’s okay.
I’d like to thank Pasta Prima for sending me these yummy ravioli to sample, and for inspiring me to get inspired.
Pasta Prima has offered to send out another kit to one of you so you can get inspired as well.
So let’s get this giveaway started.
For a chance to win, just say something in the comments section of this post. And just for fun, why not share your favorite type of pasta sauce with the rest of us? Not a recipe, just the sort of thing you enjoy most.
For another chance, mention this contest on your own blog and then come back here and share the link.
For another chance, “like” barefoot kitchen witch on facebook (if you don’t already) and come back here with the link.
For another chance, follow me on twitter and let me know with a link and a comment here.
For another chance, come to my house and help me dust, because that’s my least favorite household chore. Well, that and the litterboxes. But I wouldn’t make anyone do that. Except my kids, and I’m thinking they’re just about at the right age…
Oh, and just kidding about the dusting. I’ll do it. Eventually.
Okay, so there are four possible ways to enter.
I’ll let the contest run through the weekend, with the drawing and announcement of the winner on Monday morning.
(* Please note this contest is open to US residents only, per Pasta Prima.)
Then have at it!