Ravioli 'pea 'n' ham' bowls

Pea and ham soup, but make it pasta.
Pea and ham soup, but make it pasta. Photo: Katrina Meynink

This is the ultimate supermarket hack dinner and true midweek glory. Store-bought ravioli, frozen peas, a few kale sprigs and a heft of parmesan prove that taking shortcuts are often more than OK. Add a touch of crispy pancetta and this is basically the love child of ravioli and pea and ham soup.

Ingredients

80g pancetta

4½ tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic glaze

4 garlic cloves, grated

1½ cups frozen peas

1 cup cavolo nero leaves, deveined, leaves roughly torn

⅔ cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

zest of 1 lemon

3 tbsp butter

350g fresh ravioli (I used spinach and ricotta)

basil leaves and flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional).

2. Place the pancetta on a baking tray lined with baking paper and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the balsamic glaze. Pop in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until it looks crisp and has darkened in colour. Set aside to cool, then break into bite-sized pieces.

3. Place a medium frypan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and once hot, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until it is fragrant and a light golden colour. Allow to cool slightly then transfer oil and garlic mixture to a blender. Reserve the frypan.

4. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the peas and kale leaves and blanch for 3-5 minutes until the peas are cooked and the kale is dark green and glossy. Remove using a slotted spoon, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the peas for serving, and add the remaining greens to the blender with the garlic mixture. Keep the pot on the stove.

5. Add ½ cup of the cooking water, the parmesan, lemon zest and butter to the blender. Blitz until you get a beautiful verdant sauce. Season very generously with salt and pepper. It's key to taste and season – the balance of salt is what makes this sauce sing.

6. Cook the ravioli in the same pot of water according to packet instructions, straining about 1 minute before the end of the suggested cooking time, and reserving some cooking water. 

7. Transfer the strained pasta straight to the same frypan you cooked the garlic in, and add the final 1½ tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of cooking water. Cook over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until the water has evaporated and the ravioli is crisping on the edges – you just want a light golden look to the pasta without making it hard and chewy.

8. Pour a little of the blitzed pea sauce into bowls. Top with the ravioli. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top with the reserved peas, crisp pancetta pieces and a few herbs. Serve piping hot.