Tag Archives: arugula

Arugula & Goat Cheese “Ravioli”

4 Jun

This weekend, when I felt like spending some time in the kitchen, I decided to let the ingredients in the fridge speak to me. I knew I wanted to craft something vegetarian, and wanted to work with what I had.

The ingredients that automatically jumped out at me were arugula and goat cheese. I’ve been eating the two together as a lunch side lately, tossed with some homemade creamy balsamic vinaigrette. They seemed like a good pairing for the basis of a strong vegetarian dish, and I had just the pasta for it: lasagna noodles.

I’m always looking for creative new uses of lasagna noodles, because, while I really enjoy lasagna, I don’t always feel like making a dish that large. A few weeks ago, I tried, and liked this recipe for individual spinach lasagna rolls, so I wanted to use the arugula and goat cheese in a similar free form way that would require even less work on my part. I wanted to make a filling, and then just kind of throw it all together.

Hence, my fake-out arugula and goat cheese ravioli was born.

Here’s what you’ll need (for 16 ravioli):

  • Eight lasagna noodles, cooked according to the package directions
  • Your choice of sauce (I used tomato, but I think an alfredom béchamel or rose would work here too)
For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 ounces grated parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper

Here’s how you do it (forgive me, when I write out recipe directions, I can only remember them in the order I actually do them. So the directions below bounce between preparing the noodles, the filling, and assembling the whole dish because that’s how it’s the most logical to me. I’m incapable of doing one thing at a time.)

  • Start cooking the lasagna noodles. Drain and lay out flat on a plate or towel to dry. While you wait, prepare the filling.
  • Heat olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add arugula and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until arugula wilts, 2 to 4 minutes.Let arugula cool, then chop finely and transfer to a bowl. (I know it seems silly, and difficult, to chop wilted arugula, but it’s valuable so you aren’t picking arugula stems out of your teeth while eating.)

  • While the arugula is cooling, cut the cooked lasagna noodles into four squares each (for a total of 32 squares).
  • Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Lay half of the lasagna squares out along the bottom of the dish.
  • Stir the cheese into the wilted arugula, and spoon a tablespoon-sized dollop into the center of each square.
  • Cover each with another lasagna square, then spoon the sauce over the whole thing.
  • Pop it in the oven and bake about 15 minutes, until heated through. Enjoy!

I love this recipe and the idea behind it. The great part about the free-form style is that it doesn’t matter how messy you get, which is especially valuable for me in the kitchen. The building is also relatively speedy because of this. But on the other hand, you could also really easily transform it into a traditional lasagna, or the filling for a real ravioli, if you have the equipment to make those from scratch, and make it a pretty fancy, company-worthy meal.

Adventures with an Ingredient: Barley

5 Dec

Today’s showcase ingredient is barley, at work here in an Arugula & Barley Salad with Tomatoes & Corn

Well, hello ingredients list. Is it summer again?

No, sadly, it is still December and will be winter for quite some time. But when I discovered organic arugula at the grocery store this week, I couldn’t resist whipping up a simple, weeknight dinner with a light, lemon flavor.

Arugula is one of my favorite leafy greens. Much lighter and less bitter than others, I’m happy to eat these little guys leaves and all. It holds up well to citrus acid and black pepper, some of my favorite seasoning, and it’s very versatile. When I found a recipe that used it with barley, an under-used grain on my part, and some of my favorite vegetables, I was eager to try it.

The recipe I used is an oldy from the New York Time, fast and easy, and without almost any strange ingredients (unless you don’t usually keep these veggies on hand). While the original calls for pearl barley and suggests soaking, I had quick-cook hulled barley, so my version took only about 20 minutes total.

You can buy barley in several different forms, which are differentiated based on how much of the hull or shell of the barley has been removed. Hulled barley is the whole grain form, and is most nutritious, but takes the longest (an hour or more) to cook . Pearl barley is what people refer to if they just say “barley,” and has had the outer husk and bran layers removed. This form takes about 40 minutes to cook (though less if, as the recipe above suggests, you soak it). I’ve got Quaker quick-cook barley, because that’s what they sell at my grocery store, this form as been par-cooked and retains the least nutritional value, but is still about equal in nutrients to a whole wheat pasta, so I’ll take it.

At any rate, all this recipe requires cooking is the barley. The rest is as simple as washing arugula, chopping tomatoes and whisking a simply dressing. The result is a delicious and filling entree salad that will allow you to master barley as an ingredient without having to juggle other cooking tasks at the same time, all while bringing a hint of summer into our December kitchens.

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