Eggplant Walnut Ravioli in Tomato-Pesto Sauce

Filling
1 eggplant
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
salt and white pepper
Pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
1-1/2 cups pine nuts
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup basic tomato sauce for pasta
Pasta
3/4 pound thin fresh pasta sheets for ravioli (dough - 2 cups flour, 4 eggs)

#1 Peel the eggplant and cut crosswise into slices, 1/2 inch thick. Preheat the broiler. Arrange eggplant slices on a rack in a broiler pan and broil until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Turn and broil second side about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a cutting board an cut into small pieces; to yield about 1 cup. Place on towels to drain off any excess liquid and let cool.

#2 In a food processor bowl, fitted with the metal blade, combine eggplant, walnuts and 1/4 cup of the ricotta cheese. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ricotta and parmesan; the parsley, basil and sage. Stir until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, at most 24 hours.

#3 Make the pesto in a food processor fitted with blade. Chop in order listed, ending with olive oil . Season after you taste it.

#4 Just before using the filling, taste it and season with salt and pepper. Make ravioli: 1 teaspoon per pillow, water to seal. Set aside on rack to dry for 1 to 2 hours. The squared ravioli are faster; or use 2-1/2-inch circle cutter.

#5 Gently cook ravioli in plenty of boiling water until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes.

#6 Meanwhile, heat butter, the tomato sauce and the pesto. Drain pasta and serve in a warmed, shallow bowl, with heated pesto-sauce an freshly grated Parmesan.

Serves 8 as a first course, or 4 as a main course.



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