Saturday Dinner: Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

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About, oh, five months ago, The Wife and I went to Flour City Pasta in Pittsford and got a little crazy. Amongst the things we bought were a $20 box of braised beef ravioli. In fairness, I didn’t know how much they were until we got the receipt by email. They went into our basement freezer, which I affectionately refer to as the cryovault, and I proceeded to forget about them.

2013-11-02 at 17-09-00Fast forward to Saturday morning when I asked The Wife what she wanted to do about dinner. She had…nothing. I went searching through the cryovault and found the ravioli. It got me thinking about a sauce. I didn’t want the typical red marinara sauce here, nor did I want a rich alfredo. Bolognese seemed like overkill. Arrabiata would work, but thought it would be too much for the delicate pasta. So, I went looking and ran across The Pioneer Woman’s tomato cream sauce. It’s a simple quick marinara with heavy cream, or a vodka sauce without the booze. It looked like would complement the pasta and allow its filing to drive the bus. The sauce is a perfect weeknight improvisation, going together in about 30 minutes without much drama.

WHAT WORKED: The sauce stayed out of the way. It had all of the tang of a tomato sauce, but didn’t have an overwhelming onion, garlic or tomato flavor. It provided a proper base for the ravioli to stand out.

WHAT DIDN’T: Me. I forgot the basil. Shopping without a list is problematic like tha.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Nothing about the food. The Kid was acting like a three-year-old during dinner.


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Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Note: This sauce can be halved or doubled, depending on your needs. I halved her original recipe and added some diced tomatoes for texture.)

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 whole small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can plain tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can diced or petite diced tomatoes in juice, well drained
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmagiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 oz. pasta, cooked per manufacturer’s directions

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Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings. Stir in pasta and chopped basil and serve immediately.


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