Just because it’s December doesn’t mean gardening season is completely shut down. At this very moment there are leeks in my garden awaiting their most honorable duty of becoming part of our annual ravioli tradition.
When we started a family six years ago, my husband and I wanted to establish some traditions of our own. He had the great idea of making homemade ravioli on Christmas Eve. I took the idea and ran with it! I had never made pasta before, so this seemed like a great challenge. I’m happy to say that in six years I’ve become a competent pasta maker, and we’ve successfully established this tradition in our home. It’s something we all look forward to each year.
I’ve found that Lidia Bastianich’s recipe works well for us, so that has become our “official” Christmas Eve recipe. It’s a basic fresh egg pasta dough with a leek-spinach-ricotta filling. This fits the bill, because the days that follow Christmas Eve are filled with indulgent foods. The Christmas Eve ravioli feels light and appropriate just before a major feasting season.
Planning for the ravioli begins in March when I plant leek seeds. It’s at this time that I choose a location for them, some place they can take root and hang out for nearly 10 months. As the season rolls along, I harvest the smaller leeks leaving the best for Christmas. When the weather is mild, they can stay in all the way until the day I make the filling. This year they’ve made it the whole year!
In September I also plant spinach with the intention of using it in the ravioli as well. This year it has worked out. I may supplement with some store-bought spinach as well, but the garden will provide at least some of the required amount.
The tomato sauce for our Christmas ravioli will also feature rosemary from my potted plant. When temperatures are warm and the sun is out, I take my rosemary outside to sunbathe. When the “weather outside is frightful” the rosemary huddles near the window in the house. We may not have a real Christmas tree, but we can enjoy the scent of our rosemary plant during these darker months.
How rewarding to sit down to Christmas Eve dinner and see the fruits (or veggies and herbs?) of my labor before me. There is so much to be thankful for, but at mealtime I’m most thankful for the abundance which God provides in so many ways. Our table is always full.
This Christmas I’m thanking God for the many blessings He’s provided through our garden, but also through my husband’s job, our friends and family, and the many other channels He uses. I’m continually amazed at how our needs our met, and thankful. Praise God for earthly and heavenly blessings this holiday! And praise God for leeks, planted in March which grace our December table.