Posted by: Hil | September 1, 2008

Whole Wheat Spinach Ravioli with Rosemary White Wine Cream Sauce

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Since it was a three day weekend, the husband and I decided to entertain ourselves by undertaking an extremely complicated homemade cooking venture:  ravioli in cream sauce from scratch.  The Lemonator will make an appearance soon to show you how to make the ravioli, but I will start with a demonstration of how to make the white wine cream sauce.

This cream sauce is one of my signature dishes.  I used to make it every week or two, but I eventually regretfully decided that this was more of a special treat food.  It’s an excellent standby dish because it’s incredibly easy, it’s delicious, it tastes good on a variety of things, and it impresses company.

A brief PSA for all of my health conscious readers:  This recipe consists of butter, cream and wine.  You cannot make it healthy.  You cannot substitute margarine, olive oil, milk, or anything else.  The sauce will not turn out right if you do.  So save this for a time when you are willing to go for the gusto.

I started today with a clean pan over medium heat.  If you are making this as a topping to pan-cooked chicken or vegetables, please use the dirty pan.  All of the lovely brown bits will add tons of flavor.  First, we start with some butter.  You need at least a tablespoon, maybe two.

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Once that is melted, add a clove of garlic and a couple tablespoons of very finely minced shallots or onion.  If you prefer very smooth sauce, you can skip this step, but it adds flavor. 

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When the shallots are softened and translucent, add white wine.  This dish tastes best with a dry wine that you would actually want to drink.  (The good-enough-to-drink rule is silly if you are just deglazing a pan, but when the wine is the base of the sauce, it’s worth using good stuff.)  I always eyeball the amount so it’s a bit hard for me to estimate.  This will reduce down dramatically, so you want at least twice as much wine as the amount of sauce you want to end up with.  If you really love your measuring cup, you could use a cup or so.  You can always add more wine later if the sauce reduces down too much.  As you can see in the picture below, the alcohol begins steaming off immediately.

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Now, we let the mixture reduce by about half.

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Now, time for the fun: cream.  You really want to have a generous hand with the cream.  Please do not add less cream than you see in the picture below…I was almost out of cream, so I went on the light side.  This amount of cream made a relatively light, tangy sauce.  If you want a mellow, thick, creamy sauce, you should add more.  Since there were no pan drippings in this sauce, I also added a splash of vegetable broth for extra flavor.

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This is about the color you should see when it is all mixed together.  Next, season the mixture with salt and pepper.  If you have access to fresh, tender rosemary, you can finely mince it and add it at this stage.  If your rosemary is on the tough side, just stick a sprig in to let the flavors permeate, then pull it out at the end.  Don’t even bother with dried.  Sage also works well if you don’t have any rosemary. 

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Now we reduce it again until it is thick and creamy and perfect.

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Now we pour the creamy goodness over the lucky entree and garnish with a bit more fresh herbs.  I can’t tell you how good this is.  It is creamy, but not gluey or thick.  The wine gives it this light, tangy taste and the cream really absorbs all of the flavors of the herbs.  It is lick your plate good.

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To go with, I made a side salad with baby spinach and one of my best vinaigrette’s ever:  balsamic, evoo, whole grain mustard, finely minced fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.  The rosemary flavor really came through and paired very well with the balsamic, and I love the texture and depth of flavor that the mustard brings to the dressing.

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I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

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Responses

  1. What an elegant dinner!! I love that you made everything from scratch.

  2. That looks, sounds, seems incredible! I love how you warned the super health conscious before you went into how to make it 🙂 I’m sure the taste is so worth it!

    P.S. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment on my last blog post! I got a lot out of it and it was very much appreciated. Take care!

  3. wow, that ravioli stunned me!

  4. Um gorgeous. I love that you show us everything- the lo-cal and the high cal. Moderation is key!

    Looks fantastic.


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