I've flagged nearly all of the recipes in the book, but this one was the winner when my sister and nephew were coming for dinner. Lucky for me and Kate, Elliott doesn't eat much (he's only 3 months old, after all) which meant leftovers for us. And those leftovers were just about as good as the first round, which is saying a lot coming from me.
The prep work was easy. Throw a bunch of fresh basil, some garlic and a little olive oil into a food processor and, voila, you have basil pistou. Which, we learned, is pesto sans the pine nuts. You could certainly switch the two out in this recipe, but whatever you do, make it fresh. I've found some great jarred pestos, but, as with most things, nothing compares to fresh.
The recipe is simple to assemble. A few layers of four or five items, pop it in the oven, and out comes this...
A perfect single serving of pasta. Now I'm off to choose a recipe just for Dad.
Ravioli Gratins with Goat Cheese, Basil Pistou and Pine Nuts
3/4 cup crumbly fresh goat cheese
2 bunches of fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic
several drops of olive oil
1/4 stick sweet butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb of fresh cheese ravioli
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare the basil pitou. Rinse the basil leaves under cold water. Gently dry in a clean kitchen towel. Peel the garlic and take out the inner germ. With a small mixer, mix the garlic with the basil and a few drops of olive oil.
Precook the ravioli for one minute in salted boiling water, taking care to drain them well. Add several drops of olive oil to coat them and prevent them from sticking together.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly butter 4 mini cocottes.
Add to each, a layer of ravioli, a spoonful of crumbled goat cheese and one of the basil pistou. Add one teaspoon of pine nuts and continue with another layer of ravioli, one tablespoon of cream, one of goat cheese and a last one of pistou. End with a layer of ravioli, a tablespoon of cream and a generous amount of grated Parmesan.
Bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until the tops look crunchy and a deep golden brown.
Just before serving, add several fresh, roughly chopped basil leaves and a teaspoon of pine nuts scattered on top.
There really isn't much to say about this. It's as simple as it seems and as good as it looks. I'll definitely keep this one towards the top of the pile. It's perfect for a small dinner party and ideal for people who only like leftovers one more time (ahem).