When I say that this sauce is green, I mean that it’s green — kale, collards, basil, oregano, and rosemary bumble and jumble together to make a mock pesto that tastes phenomenal over pasta, in this case, ravioli. It doesn’t hurt that this sauce is an anti-oxidant paradise — in other words, it’s as good for you as it is just plain good. If you garden organically or buy organic at the Farmer’s Market, you’re in even better shape.
I call it mock pesto because, when you use enough basil, the flavor comes through and you don’t miss the roasted pine nuts which are exorbitantly expensive and don’t grow in most of our gardens. Also, because the bulk of the sauce’s texture is derived from the greens, not pine nuts and olive oil, you’re not getting hit by the calorie count. There’s no meat, so this is a vegetarian recipe; if you want to make it vegan, drop the cheese sprinkled on top and replace the ravioli with pasta. Serves 4-6, depending upon how much sauce you use.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head garlic (yep, you read that right: one head) — separate and peel the cloves, then finely dice them
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 sticks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, diced or chopped
8 leaves of greens, washed and sliced into ribbons — I used four kale and four chard; anything but lettuce will do
1 cup chicken broth — I use Better than Bouillon Organic, which I find at Costco
1 cup loosely packed herbs, finely chopped — I used a combination of 2/3 basil, 1/3 oregano, rosemary, and sage, because that’s what is growing outside my front porch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
Frozen ravioli, 4-6 squares per person, cooked and set aside to keep warm
Grated Cheese, as much as you want to top the final plated dish. I used an artisan Parmesan — not the stuff that comes in the green tube canisters, but a wedge that I freshly grated. When you use the good stuff, you don’t have to use much to get the flavor; I sprinkled four tablespoons for four servings, one tablespoon per serving.
By the way, if the ingredient list looks familiar, that’s because these food items are plentiful around now, and one of the major ways to save money on food is to use what is seasonal, available, and cheap. Last week, we made Zucchini Pasta Toss with many of these same elements from the garden or Farmer’s Market.
What to do:
Heat the oil over medium heat, and once it’s hot, add the garlic. Stir for 3-5 minutes.
Add the celery and onions. Saute for another five minutes.
Add the zucchini, and saute for another five minutes.
Mix in the greens and chicken broth, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes, until greens are wilted and soft. Add the herbs and saute for 3 minutes.
Now it’s time to puree this stuff. I used a stick blender or immersion blender, which will make short work of the process, but be aware that these appliances are wicked little things, and can do serious damage to your fingers. When you’re not holding the stick blender and using it properly, unplug it before setting it down.
You can also puree the mixture in the blender. Just use what it takes to turn it into a smooth mass of extremely green sauce product. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Add salt to taste (I find that the chicken bouillon added enough salt for my palate, but if you want more, shake it on.)
Now, plate it up. Artfully layer 4-6 ravioli pieces across the middle of the plate. Spoon over the sauce, as much or as little as you like. Sprinkle cheese atop. Serve with wine, iced tea, Kombucha, or water, depending upon the palate and the age of the diner, and take time to eat together with whoever is in the household.
We eat three times a day, which means that, regardless of how little or how much we make financially, we can enjoy the richness and luxury of fresh, well made food, eaten in the company of people we love and care about. This is one of many simple, easy to do lifestyle choices we can make to save money and live well on whatever resources we have been given, and I lay these principles out in my book, Live Happily on Less.
The book — digital and paperback at Amazon.com — is worth its reasonable purchase price, I assure you.
“It’s a refreshing look at living on less that doesn’t require the extreme tactics that many others propose.” — Amazon Reader Review