Roasted Asparagus, White Cheddar Béchamel and Hazelnut Ravioli

Roasted Asparagus, White Cheddar Béchamel and Hazelnut Ravioli

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 24 spears asparagus, tough ends removed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 24 fresh ravioli or your favorite filled pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add flour (forming a “roux.”) Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until roux is sizzling hot, still pale in color and smells of popcorn. With a wire whip, stir in half-and-half, beating well to evenly distribute.

Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes. The sauce will thicken and become silky. Stir in cheeses; season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Keep covered until ready to serve.

Toss asparagus in 2 tablespoons oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 3 to 4 minutes for slender stalks, slightly longer for thicker stalks, or until bright green and crisp-tender.

Cook ravioli in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add garlic and hazelnuts and cook for 30 seconds, until garlic is aromatic. Add ravioli and toss to heat through.

Place 6 ravioli each on 4 plates. Top with asparagus spears and drizzle with the warm sauce.