Ravioli with Grilled Vegetable Sauce

1 medium red onion, halved (skin on)
3 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
1 hot fresh green chile, such as jalapeño
1 portabella mushroom (4 to 5 inches in diameter), wiped clean, stem removed
1/2 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 cups (1 pound) chopped tomatoes, preferably fresh plum tomatoes or Early Girls
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound cheese ravioli
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill for 20 min. on high. Put the onion, peppers, chile, mushroom, and eggplant slices on the grill. Grill the onion until it can be easily pierced by a skewer (about 45 min.), the peppers and chile until charred black and the skins are blistering (about 20 min.), the mushroom until soft and golden brown (about 20 min.), and the eggplant until branded with grill marks (about 15 min.).

When the peppers and chile are cool enough to handle, peel them and remove their seeds. Peel the onion. Put the onion, peppers, chile, eggplant, mushroom, chopped tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor. Process until the vegetables are a purée. Pass through a food mill or a strainer and transfer to a saucepan; stir in the olive oil and cream. Turn the heat to medium, bring to a gentle boil, and then simmer until the sauce is dense, smooth, and reduced to about 4 cups, 30 to 40 min.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a vigorous boil and add the ravioli. Cook until the ravioli are puffy and bobbing on top of the water, pushing them down occasionally (if using frozen ravioli, follow the directions on the package). Test one to be sure it's fully cooked; drain and then cover with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.

Yields 4 cups sauce; serves four with sauce left over.

This sauce recipe will cover two pounds of pasta, so you can freeze half to enjoy later. The sauce is also delicious over tortellini, gnocchi, or even polenta.



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