Date night dinners need not be complicated to be fancy. Take this recipe: lasagna noodles trimmed into squares make elegant "open-faced" raviolis. With poached eggs nestled between the layers, some wilted greens, and a simple sauce of brown butter and lemon, this very simple dish becomes a date night win.
Greens, garlic, and eggs are one of our very favorite flavor combinations. The bitterness of the greens is tempered by the rich egg yolk, while the garlic brings it all together. In this dish, we like how the browned butter adds a nutty sweetness and the lemon gives a bright splash of citrus flavor.
While this recipe is written for just you and your lucky dinner partner, it can be easily scaled up to serve a whole dinner party. Keep the noodles and the poached eggs warm in their bowl of water while you finish the rest of the meal and plate this dish just before serving.
Open-Faced Ravioli with Poached Egg, Wilted Greens, and Brown Butter-Lemon Sauce
2 lasagna noodles
2-4 eggs, depending on how hungry you feel and what else is being served
1 bunch (about 10 ounces) swiss chard, washed, stems removed, and sliced into ribbons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
Fill a mixing bowl with hot tap water and set it next to the stove.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon or two of salt and the lasagna noodles. Cook about 8 minutes, until the noodles are al dente. Remove the noodles with a strainer or slotted spoon and transfer them to the bowl of water.
Drain half the water from the pot, leaving about four inches in the bottom. Let it come back to a simmer. Crack the eggs into individual measuring cups and slip them into the simmering water. Poach the eggs for 4 minutes for runny yolks or 5 minutes for yolks that are barely set. Transfer them to the bowl of warm water with the lasagna noodles until ready to plate your dishes.
While the noodles and eggs are cooking, you can begin wilting the greens. Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the greens and a three-fingered pinch of salt, and sauté until the chard wilts, turns bright green, and becomes tender to taste, about three minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the chard to a separate plate.
With the skillet back over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook it, swirling the butter occasionally in the pan, until the butter darkens and begins to smell nutty. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The lemon juice will make the butter sizzle up and sputter before cooling down.
To Plate the Ravioli: Remove the lasagna noodles from the water and pat them dry. Slice them into squares and layer half of them in the bottom of two pasta bowls. Remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and lay them on the noodles. Top with the remaining ravioli squares. Arrange the wilted chard around and over the plates, and drizzle everything with butter-lemon sauce. Serve immediately.
(Images: Emma Christensen)