Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hearty and healthy

I came across this brilliantly simple healthy meal in the October issue of Real Simple magazine.

To me, apples are the quintessential fruit of the fall. I know they are easily found year-round, but this is the time when the smell of apple pies fill the air and a glass of warm apple cider warms your insides on a crisp fall afternoon. Ok, so for me that really isn't the case where I live any more, it was afterall about 98 degrees in San Diego the day I made this meal. But apples definately remind me of growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas and visiting the apple orchard in the fall. So we'll go with that angle.

I made this for lunch the other day for my roommate and I. The apple flavor was just right and the walnuts gave it a good crunch. I'm not usually a big fan of walnuts, but toasting them brought out a great nutty flavor. Plus walnuts are loaded with Omega-3 and I just read an article in Prevention magazine that claims "adding about seven to nine whole nuts to your daily diet may improve balance, coordination, and memory."

I bought Light Four-Cheese Ravioli by Buitoni to use. I wish I would have found a whole-wheat ravioli to make it a bit more healthy, but these got my thumbs up as far as taste goes. The recipe claims to make 4 servings, but I found it to be more like 3 unless you're having a big salad or something on the side. I just went for a bowl full of the ravioli by itself, so I might have eaten slightly more than a serving.

I will warn that the 3rd serving was chalked up as leftovers at lunch the next day. While the taste was still there, the freshness was zapped after a quick round in the microwave. So I wouldn't cook a big portion in the hopes of having it for more meals throughout the week.

To get right to it, here's the recipe:

Ravioli with Apples and Walnuts

hands-on time: 20 minutes total time: 20 minutes serves 4

1 pound cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 crisp apple (such as Braeburn or Gala), cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used fresh)

>Cook the ravioli according to the package direction.
>Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. (I found these cooked a bit faster than the recommended time)
>Add the apple, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to combine. Spoon over the ravioli and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Enjoy, and happy fall.

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