Let's face it: Not everyone has time to cook from scratch. But using a mix of store-bought and fresh ingredients is a good way to make food taste homemade — an approach made popular by Sandra Lee from the Food Network and HGTV.
For today's mushroom ravioli with creamy tomato basil sauce, I doctored up a plain jar of pasta sauce with herbs and cream and used fresh mushrooms and fresh herbs for the filling. The biggest time-saver was using egg roll wrappers to make my own ravioli.
Look for the wrappers in the produce section of most grocery stores. A packet of about 20 squares (6-by-6-inch) is about $2. If you don't use them all, you can freeze the rest up to 2 months for the best quality.
I find it best to defrost them in the microwave and use them right away. The longer they are left to defrost in the refrigerator, it seems, the more they stick together.
You can use one wrapper to make two large ravioli. Cut the wrapper in half and place a mound of filling on one wrapper, leaving room to fold it over. Brush the edges with an egg wash and fold the wrapper over the filling. Press to seal. Cut into squares or use a biscuit cutter to cut into rounds.
For the filling, use a variety of mushrooms and make sure to chop them small. I used a mix of shiitake and cremini mushrooms for a hearty and earthy flavor. For the sauce, add some fresh snipped basil to boost the flavor and half-and-half to give it a creamy texture.
When choosing a jarred sauce, keep an eye on the sodium. Many commercial brands have roughly 400 milligrams per half cup, but some that contain cheese have as much as 700 milligrams per half cup. I'd rather add my own cheese and control the sodium.
Mushroom Ravioli With Tomato Cream Sauce
1 1/4 lbs. mixed mushrooms such as creminis and shiitakes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled, minced
1/2sweet onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons Madeira or Marsala
2 tablespoons plus 1/3cup fat-free half-and-half, divided
1/2cup shredded Italian-blend cheese or shredded Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4cup chopped parsley
1 jar (26 oz.) plain or herb-seasoned pasta sauce
12 to 16 egg roll wrappers or pasta sheets (about 6-by-6 inches)
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Small leaves of fresh basil, optional
To prepare the mushrooms, clean them with a damp paper towel. If using shiitakes, remove and discard stems. Chop the mushrooms, but not too fine.
In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the onion and saute about 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute about 8 to 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and release their juices. Add the Madeira and cook until all the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons half-and-half and the cheese until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Remove from the heat.
In a medium saucepan, stir together the pasta sauce and remaining 1/3cup half-and-half. Keep on low heat until ready to serve.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt.
Work with one egg roll wrapper at a time to make 2 ravioli. Evenly space apart and mound about 2 teaspoons of the mushroom filling onto the bottom half of the pasta sheet. Brush around the filling and the edges with egg wash. Cover with the top half of the sheet of pasta, sealing edges. Cut out with a 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cutter or in squares. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.
Working in batches, carefully place the ravioli in the boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and serve with the sauce. Garnish with basil. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrients per serving: 501 calories (22% from fat ), 12 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat ), 79 grams carbohydrates , 18 grams protein , 934 mg sodium , 25 mg cholesterol , 6 grams fiber .
The Wichita Eagle—03/17/10