ravioli with a twist

1 recipe ravioli filling (recipes follow)
12-ounce package wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons melted butter or warm extra virgin olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper for topping

With a large wire rack and a small bowl of water close by, lay 6 wonton wrappers on a clean, dry countertop. Drop 1 tablespoon filling onto each wonton wrapper. Moisten the perimeter of each wonton wrapper with your index finger that has been dipped in the water bowl. Working one at a time, top each wrapper with another wrapper, pressing out as much air as possible to seal completely but leaving the mound of filling in the center. Transfer to wire rack; repeat filling and sealing process with remaining wonton wrappers and filling. They can be covered loosely with plastic wrap and left at room temperature for up to 1 hour or refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Bring at least 2 quarts of water to a simmer in a large, deep skillet. When water starts to simmer, add salt and oil.

Drop 8 ravioli into the simmering water. Cook until the wrappers over the fillings start to wrinkle and ravioli turn from opaque to translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the cooked ravioli to shallow warm soup plates. You may add a little of the cooking liquid to keep the ravioli warm and to serve as a basis for your sauce. Repeat cooking with remaining ravioli. Drizzle with a portion of butter or oil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper, and serve immediately.

Herbed Ricotta Filling
Makes enough for 24 ravioli. This filling can be made very quickly and is perfect for weeknight ravioli.

1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large egg
Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together. Use as a filling with the preceding ravioli recipe. Per ravioli based on 24: 31 calories; 2 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 2 grams fat; 16 mg cholesterol; 1 gm saturated fat; 43 mg sodium; trace dietary fiber.

Spinach-Ricotta Filling
Makes enough for 24 ravioli.

2 cloves garlic
10-ounce package frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 large egg

In a food processor, mince the garlic cloves. Add spinach and pulse until finely chopped. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat until simmering. Add the spinach mixture, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until any excess liquid evaporates, 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Taste, add salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in the egg. Proceed with the quick ravioli recipe above.

Quick Tomato Sauce
(Makes 2 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and garlic in sauté pan. When garlic starts to sizzle, add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, until sauce thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve over ravioli.

From The Washington Post, May 12, 1999

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