Posted by: timscooking | April 21, 2010

Ravioli with Lemon-Dill Sauce and Spinach in Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

As the days get longer and the weather warmer, I try to put together lighter meals that take a minimum of effort to plan and execute. After spending quite a few hours outside cleaning out planting beds from the winter debris, attacking those pesky early weeds and pruning roses, I’m usually planning dinner around whatever is in the pantry and freezer rather than going shopping for ingredients. Such was the case the other day.

I had purchased some fresh spinach (only $.99 a bag!) on the weekend with thoughts of a spinach salad for dinner, but even though we enjoy large salads as dinner, after a while I start feeling like one of the  rabbits I’m constantly battling in the garden. I did a little scouting around and remembered some cheese ravioli in the freezer, checked for a few other staples and my dinner plans were complete. In the time it took for the water to boil for the ravioli, I had everything else prepared.

While I used frozen ravioli, you could easily substitute dried ravioletti or fresh ravioli in this recipe. I’m not sure how this would taste with a beef ravioli but a chicken, lamb, or seafood ravioli would work with the lemon-dill sauce. A tip on the balsamic vinegar, while it can be a bit more expensive, an aged balsamic, say 10 years or older, will yield a much softer and sweeter dish than the more commercial varieties which are typically aged for around 12 months and have a much stronger vinegar taste.


1 lb. frozen cheese ravioli

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/3 c. lemon juice (3-4 lemons)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish

6 c. (6 oz.) spinach, remove thicker stems

1/2 medium red onion sliced in rounds

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 c. toasted pine nuts

Prepare ravioli according to package instructions.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat in a large saute pan with a lid, add the onion and saute until soft. Take the pan off the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, return the pan to the stove, lower the heat to simmer and reduce the liquid by 1/2.

In another large saute pan set on low, melt 2 tbsp. of butter, add all of the lemon juice and the 2 tbsp. of dill. When the ravioli is about 1 minute from being done according to the package instructions, remove from the heat, drain and add to the lemon-dill mixture. Toss to coat. Add the rest of the butter. Continue to heat on low.

While the ravioli is heating, add all of the spinach to the balsamic reduction, cover and heat through about 2 minutes or until the spinach is just wilted. Don’t cook too long or the spinach will turn to mush!Add the 1/4 c. olive oil, salt and pepper and, using tongs, toss to coat. Remove from the heat.

Arrange the ravioli on the plate, spoon lemon-dill sauce over and garnish with the remaining fresh dill and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add the wilted spinach and red onions to the plate and garnish with the toasted pine nuts.



  1. Sounds amazing! Very inventive!

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