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Ravioli with Artichoke Sauce

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Ravioli

What another awesome weekend for Wisconsin sports fans, huh? The Badgers and Marquette have made it to the Sweet 16, and the Lady Badger Hockey team won their fourth national championship in six years.  All the sports hubbub must have distracted me from officially recognizing the first day of spring – which went over my head completely.

So today we have a fresh flavored, meatless pasta dish to honor the end of winter and the arrival of a brand new season.  We served it with a big chopped salad and wheat dinner rolls and were all sufficiently filled.  If you need a protein, this would be yummy topped with a grilled chicken breast, or even a few grilled shrimp.

Welcome spring!

RAVIOLI WITH ARTICHOKE SAUCE
SERVES:  4
SOURCE:  foodnetwork.com

1 can artichoke hearts, drained, dried, and coarsely chopped (Vigo Quartered Artichoke Hearts are on sale this week, 3/23/11 to 3/29/11)
1 c. half and half
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 c. frozen peas, do not thaw  (Westpac Frozen Vegetables are on sale)
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 lb. refrigerated cheese ravioli (see note)
1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese (Sendiks Imported Parmesan is on sale)
1/4 c. torn fresh basil leaves

Combine the artichokes, half and half, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook until the artichokes are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the peas and continue to cook until tender, about 5 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.  Discard the garlic clove.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the ravioli and cook as the label directs.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and transfer to the skillet with the sauce.

Add the parmesan to the skillet and gently stir until the pasta is coated.  Thin the sauce with some of the reserved cooking water.  Stir in the basil and serve.

**NOTE**  If you’re not much for cheese-filled pasta, this sauce would be delicious over any other type of pasta as well.  Creamette Pastas are on sale this week.

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Leah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."

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