Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil

Perhaps I should begin with an apology. It would be much kinder than a command to go make this now. To run and get good tomatoes and basil while they are still around, before the season ends and you have to wait until summer comes again to make this salad to its fullest potential. I could preach to you that this salad is a pleaser, that I haven't meet someone who doesn't like it, and happily consume it. Tell you that everyone will ask you for the recipe when you make it for them. Tell you about how it is among the recipes I like hot and warm and cold, with a fox and in a box, in the rain and on a train. It is just good. And easy. And summer. 

But instead, I'll say sorry. Sorry, I've been making this for a year or two now and haven't talked about it here. It was one of those things I photographed, uploaded the pictures and promptly forgot about them until November, when tomatoes and basil weren't really happening anywhere and it would be just mean to talk about glorious summer salads with tomatoes that are sweet as candy when we were getting knee deep in gratins and soup.

So, this year I remembered, just in time. See, I really do get to things eventually.

This is also great for a crowd. I made this for a family reunion this summer and everyone liked it so much, we made again for another meal. That my friends, is success. 

I like this salad best with lots of good olives, but I forgot to add them before these pictures were taken. Make the salad as you please, with or without the olives, but just don't just down on the basil. You want it all. It makes this salad sing and not be overwhelmed by the ravioli.

Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil
by Deborah Madison
Serves 4 to 6
This will be even better if you can make it ahead of time, giving the flavors plenty of time to blend together. It would be perfect for a picnic.
1 lb (450 g) cheese ravioli or tortellini
2 lb (900 g) ripe tomatoes
1 x 6-oz (170-g) jar artichoke hearts, drained and halved (optional)
1 bunch basil, leaves torn into pieces
1/2 cup (90 g) olives, pitted and halved
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the ravioli. Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. (To do this, cut a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife, then pour boiling water over them and leave until the skin around the X starts to curl away, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then slip off their skins.) Deseed them and chop them into large pieces. Put the tomatoes and artichokes in a large bowl along with the basil, olives, capers, and oil.
Once the water is boiling, add the ravioli or tortellini and cook according to the package instructions, then drain well. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture in the bowl and toss gently with a rubber spatula. Taste for salt, season with pepper and sprinkle with vinegar to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Ha- I have been caught- I did add onions to the recipe when I photographed it... So, yes it can but doesn't call for them.


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