Last week I shared some photos and links to the recipes I cooked up for my Birthday and BBQ. One of those recipes keeps on reappearing at dinners and that’s my roasted red pepper dip. This dip is full of flavour, complex in that most people try and pick out the ingredients in it but they just can’t quite guess all of them. You and I know what’s in the dip and you’ll be scooping this dip with pita bread or smearing it on some crusty baguette.
Not only is this dip recipe a crowd pleaser when I have people over but now it’s also versatile – used to make a pasta sauce! There are two ways to go about transforming the dip into a sauce: turn the leftover dip into a sauce by adding some warm stock and olive oil to loosen up the dip to a sauce-like consistency.
The other way to make the transition is to make the sauce from scratch: Adding all the dip ingredients into your food processor or blender and again, loosening up the mixture with some stock and a bit more olive oil. Either way will give you delicious results, the sauce thick (obviously not as thick as the dip) and every bit as delicious.
The other component to this dish are the horta. Horta in Greek refers to any wild greens which have been foraged in fields, hills and mountain sides. These greens could be amaranth, mustard greens, dandelions, nettles or any other bitter green. Greeks eat these super-foods quite often as they are a perfect pairing with olive oil and lemon juice, heart-healthy, good for your blood, packed with iron and abundant and cheap.
I like the flavour contrast of bitter greens mixed in with other savory flavours. Here, I’ve lightly blanched the greens to mellow the bitterness and to retain the bright green colour of the greens. The garlic and grilled scallions in the dip complement the greens, the velvety, slightly smoky roasted red pepper hold up to the bitter greens’ flavour, just as red and green stand side by side as two colours.
Underlying flavours in this dish are the basil in the sauce, the sun-dried tomatoes and slightly tart and briny Feta cheese. Have you tried real Feta cheese? I mean Feta cheese that’s made from either goat, sheep or a combo of both. NO COW’S MILK is contained in real Feta. Go ahead, try some real Feta cheese – you’ll never go back to the “faux feta”.
Finally, choose a good ready-made ravioli or use some of your homemade ravioli. For this recipe, I used a simple ricotta and spinach-filled ravioli. The ricotta complements the Feta in the sauce and the spinach matches the horta. This dish is different, it bursts with flavour and it’s a healthy dish and delicious. How often do you get healthy and delicious in the same sentence?
Ravioli With Horta and a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 large red peppers
2 scallions (green onions)
1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 small chilli pepper (you can make this sauce as hot as you like)
1 cup of basil leaves
1 slab of Feta cheese (or 1 cup crumbled)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2-1 cup warm vegetable or chicken stock (depending how thick you like your sauce)
2 cups (handful) of bitter greens (amaranth, mustard greens, rapini or broccolini)
1 clove of garlic, smashed
500 gr. of ricotta and spinach filled ravioli
drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
Crumbled Feta cheese for topping each serving
- Place your red peppers on a pre-heated as or charcoal grill. Char all the sides of the peppers and grill your scallions (evin your hot pepper) until just browned then place in a bowl with plastic wrap to cover. Allow the peppers to sweat for about 20-30 minutes, allowing the blistered skins to separate from the meat. Peel the skins off the peppers, remove the stem and any seeds and discard.
- Snip the charred ends off your scallions and place in your food processor (or blender) along with the cleaned roasted red peppers and hot pepper. Now add your smashed garlic, your sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves and crumbled Feta cheese. Process until well blended. Now add a slow stream of the olive oil until the sauce becomes smooth. Now add your warm stock: 1/2 cup if you want a thick sauce and 1 cup if you want it a little looser. Adjust seasoning with any of the ingredients used to make the sauce.
- Empty the sauce into a skillet and warm up over medium-low heat. Reserve and keep warm.
- In the meantime, Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place your greens in a sink full of water and allow to soak for a few minutes. Drain and rinse. If the greens are at all gritty from sand, soak and rinse again. Trim the ends and when your water comes to a boil, add a good amount of salt and add your greens. Boil for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath. Drain and reserve.
- In the same pot of salted water, add your ravioli and bring to a boil. Cook according to packet instructions or until the ravioli float to the top. Remove from a slotted spoon and place in a skillet over medium heat. The excess water will evaporate quickly. Add some olive oil, a clove of smashed garlic and the reserved greens and gently toss for a minute or two.
- Pour some on the bottom of each plate, then place a stack of ravioli and greens (horta) over the sauce. Top with some extra virgin olive oil, crumbled Feta and some fresh ground pepper.
- Serve with a Kir Yanni Akakies Rose.
If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.
© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis
. All rights reserved.