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Celebrating One Month of Married Bliss with Pesto & Pasta

About a month ago, I married my best friend. It was no doubt the best day of my life, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful ceremony and reception.

But now it’s back to the grind. While we are still in our "honeymoon" stage, we face the same issues most couples do- including figuring out what to have for dinner every night. We’ve been mostly been making quick convenience meals lately, so I thought it would be nice to make Adam a special meal to celebrate our 1 month anniversary. I chose to make Squash Ravioli with Pesto Cream. Even though the presentation of this dish looks fancy, it’s a snap to put together.

Frozen ravioli stars in this recipe. Now, if you really wanted to get fancy, you could always make your own pasta. But really, who has time to do that on a weeknight? Definitely not me! I was actually very impressed with how good the ravioli tasted- couldn’t tell it was convenient frozen pasta!

One part of the meal that I did decide to go homemade on is the pesto. Every summer, my mom, aunt, my sister and I get together and take advantage of the abundance of basil at our local farmer’s markets. We gather together and spend the entire day making pesto. It’s actually quite simple- the only ingredients you need are basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. It makes the whole house smell divine, and each of us goes home with a year’s supply of pesto. We put it in re-sealable plastic food bags in ¼ cup amounts, so whenever we need it, we just pull it out of the freezer and use it in our recipe. Pretty handy, huh? Plus, I feel much better about eating pesto that is made by me- I know exactly what ingredients went into it and where they came from.

So let’s get started. Cook your frozen ravioli according to the package instructions.

I used the squash ravioli called for in the recipe, but there are so many different flavors of frozen ravioli out there, go ahead and experiment! I’ve used a chicken and fontina cheese frozen ravioli in other recipes before, and I bet it would be delicious in this recipe, too. Or, you could even make this sauce and serve it over plain cooked pasta. So many options!

While your pasta is cooking, go ahead and chop your spinach and tomato…

…and grate some Parmesan cheese. We’ll use these in a few minutes.

In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter and then add the pesto and flour. Like I said, I chose to use our homemade pesto, but if you don’t have homemade, you can find it in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket.

Continue cooking the butter/flour/pesto mixture until it begins to bubble- then add in the half & half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

I know nutmeg might sound like a strange ingredient to add to a savory dish, but it really adds another level of flavor.

Once the sauce thickens, which took about 7 minutes, pour it over your cooked ravioli.

Place the ravioli and sauce into your serving bowls. I still get excited to use our new dinnerware!

Top it with the chopped spinach and tomato…

…and sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

How’s that for presentation? Looks as good as something you could order in a fancy Italian restaurant and tastes just as good, too. You don’t have to spend your entire evening slaving away to make a meal to impress your significant other- this did the trick for Adam!

What do you like to make for a special dinner meal? Have any time-saving shortcuts like using frozen ravioli? Feel free to share in the comments, and go ahead and give this Squash Ravioli with Pesto Cream a try for your next "special" meal.

Come back in a few days when Liz will share another unique way to use refrigerated pasta.

Mallory is a Product Specialist in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.

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