I came up with this recipe for a contest I found on FoodBuzz. Kraft foods was promoting their Buitoni ravioli line. I didn't win, but it got quite a bit of attention from the FoodBuzz community. My family certainly thought this sauce was a winner. I've modified it slightly since the contest.
This creamy sauce, inspired by bacon blue cheeseburgers, is quite rich. I have been warned by various recipe books not to make pasta sauce with blue cheese. The flavors are just too strong, they say so, of course I had to prove them wrong.
I'll admit, this is best eaten on the day you make it. Letting it sit in the refrigerator will make the blue cheese flavor too strong for pasta. But I love blue cheese. I love bacon. I love pasta.
Death to conventional wisdom! Bring on the flavor!
This recipe was designed with meat ravioli in mind, but I suspect it will work with any good pasta.
Sauce pans, one medium, one large
1 lb. bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled (or more if you like)
1 cup heavy cream
1 /2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried chopped parsley, or 1 tsp freshly chopped parsley
1 /4 tsp ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice
additional salt, pepper, and chopped parsley to taste
18 oz package of meat Ravioli, fresh or frozen
Remove the egg from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the sauce. The egg is optional. It will add a bit more thickness and body, but you may find you don't need it.
Cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Chop into small pieces and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the melted bacon fat.
Add the melted bacon fat and the butter to a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Melt the butter. Add the ricotta cheese and 2 Tbl of the blue cheese, stirring with a whisk until melted and smooth. Add the cream and stir until smooth and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in the bacon, salt, parsley, and pepper.
Beat the egg, if using, and add it to the cheese mixture, mixing thoroughly. Return to the heat and gently cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and starts to get bubbly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Add more salt, pepper, and parsley to taste. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap, so the plastic wrap is just touching the surface, to avoid a skin forming on the top while the pasta cooks.
Cook the ravioli according to the package directions. Drain the cooked ravioli and add the sauce, mixing gently, and covering each piece with sauce. Pour the ravioli into individual serving bowls and garnish with the remaining bacon, blue cheese, parsley and additional freshly ground black pepper.
Makes 4 main dish servings
Picture by Dominic Morel