Do you ever cook something that was so good, yet so easy, that you wanted to make it again? Like, the next day? That doesn’t usually happen to me because by the time I’m done with all the leftovers, I’m tired of it. This dish, though, had me wanting more.
I can’t claim credit for finding this one. When hubby and I were home in NY for Christmas one year, my friend Ashly had us over and made it for us. See, here she is.
If you’ve never had a Sicilian make you dinner, you should. Just saying. They know what they’re doing.
I can’t quite remember when this dinner was, but I know it was before she got married, before hubby and I were married, and before she and her boyfriend (now husband) bought the house that they live in now. So it’s been a while, though probably not as long as that description makes it sound. To be honest, my memories of that night are of catching up after being apart for a while, drinking too much wine, giggling, and probably driving our boys crazy. They were good sports, though. I think they talked about cars. Anyway, I remember 1,000,000,000,000 Christmas lights, because that’s how they do Christmas in their house, and the warm purple sweater with ruffles that I was wearing, and the fact that Diana Krall was playing on the stereo. I remember helping Ashly in the kitchen and watching as she did everything, but I honestly don’t remember the meal that much.
Apparently I’m feeling nostalgic today. Can you blame me? Hubby and I are moving back to NY in a few weeks. It’s been six years and I’m ready to go home. Maybe that’s why my mind is wandering in that direction.
Anyway, hubby and I were having company over for dinner and I wanted something that would be relatively easy, yet fancy. Something Italian but less labor-intensive than my lasagna or stuffed shells, and something that was just plain delicious. So I dug out the recipe that Ashly had given me.
First, here was my uber-easy appetizer. Sliced French bread dipped in seasoned oil. Nom nom nom.
And the next course (which I served at the same time as the entrée), was my cranberry and almond spinach salad with poppyseed dressing.
And now for the meal.
First step: boil some frozen ravioli.
My sole experience with pancetta was with this meal. I vaguely remembered that it looked like ham and I almost just bought ham when I had trouble finding pancetta at the grocery store. Luckily I didn’t, instead asking the people at the deli, and this is what I got.
Definitely not ham! More like bacon. I tasted it, and it was salty and flavorful.
First step is just to sauté it in a pan, then let it drain on paper towels. This is apparently the only picture I took of the process. But they got nice and crispy, and there was plenty of oil in the pan.
Next, take a can of diced tomatoes.
Sauté the tomatoes with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The recipe didn’t say whether you should drain the pan of all the fat from the pancetta, but I did.
Next up, chop some fresh basil.
After the tomatoes have cooked for about 2 minutes, add the basil and a few cups of fresh arugula. Cook it until it’s wilted.
You’re supposed to add in a bit of butter at this point, but I forgot. Whoops.
Okay, your ravioli should be done about now. Drain them.
And then toss with the tomato/ arugula mixture and also the pancetta.
Serve it up with a pinch of fresh Parmesan cheese and some garlic toast, and you’re good to go.
So wonderful. I loved this. I want to make it again. It doesn’t take longer to make than just boiling the ravioli, and it is so worth the effort. The pancetta spiced things up, making it fancy and flavorful.