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Pasta short-cutters.

Pasta short-cutters What comes in squares, circles, twists, half-moons, and triangles? One answer is filled pasta--including agnolotti, anolini, ravioli, and tortellini.

Once considered only a restaurant entree or a time-consuming home project, filled pasta can now be called fast food. Today it's widely available--fresh, frozen, dry, or vacuum-packed--in supermarkets as well as in pasta shops and delicatessens.

Start with ready-to-cook pasta as a shortcut to a quick meal. Here we use this versatile ingredient in an appetizer, soup, salad, and entree. The pasta comes with different fillings and wrappers; all are interchangeable in these recipes.

Filled Pasta with Escarole in Broth

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped 1 strip (4 in.) pared lemon peel (yellow part only) 10 cups regular-strength chicken broth About 1 pound refrigerated, frozen, or vacuum-packed filled fresh pasta, or about 1/2 pound filled dry pasta 1 package (10 oz.) frozen petite peas, thawed 6 cups (8 oz.) shredded escarole Freshly grated or ground nutmeg Lemon wedges Salt

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, stir oil, onion, carrot, and lemon peel over medium-high heat until onion is soft, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add broth (if using dry pasta, also add 1 cup water) and bring to a boil. Add filled pasta and boil gently uncovered, just until barely tender to bite, 4 to 6 minutes for refrigerated or frozen pasta, 10 to 12 minutes for vacuum-packed, 20 to 25 minutes for dry. Stir in peas and escarole; cook just until escarole wilts, 1 to 2 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls. Dust generously with nutmeg. Offer lemon wedges and salt to taste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving: 282 cal.; 15 g protein; 10 g fat; 34 g carbo.; 327 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Filled Pasta with Vegetable Confetti

About 1/2 pound refrigerated, frozen, or vacuum-packed filled fresh pasta, or about 1/4 pound filled dry pasta 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or olive oil 1 medium-size zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch cubes 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 6 springs (each 4 in.) fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves 2 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds Salt and pepper Grated parmesan cheese

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and boil gently, uncovered, until barely tender to bite, 4 to 6 minutes for refrigerated or frozen pasta, 10 to 12 minutes for vacuum-packed, 20 to 25 minutes for dry. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add zucchini, red pepper, garlic, and thyme. Stir often for 3 minutes. Add nuts and continue stirring until zucchini and nuts begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add hot pasta and mix lightly. Add salt, pepper, and cheese to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving; 609 cal.; 22 g protein; 37 g fat; 51 g carbo.; 633 mg sodium; 62 g chol.

Fried Pasta Crisps

About 1/2 pound refrigerated or thawed frozen small (about 3/4 in.) filled fresh pasta Salad oil 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon dry basil leaves 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne Garlic salt Cocktail sauce (optional)

If the pasta does not feel moist and supple, cover with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Spread soaked pasta on a 10- by 15-inch baking pan lined with paper towels. Blot gently with paper towels and let dry about 5 minutes. (If pasta feels moist, omit soaking and drying step.)

Meanwhile, pour about 1/2 inch oil into a 10-inch frying pan or 5-quart pan. Heat oil until it reaches 350[degrees] on a thermometer. Place about 1/3 of the pasta in pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on 10- by 15-inch pan lined with paper towels. Serve pasta, or keep warm in a 200[degrees] oven up to 30 minutes while frying remaining pasta.

In a bag, mix cheese, basil, cayenne, and garlic salt to taste. Add warm pasta; shake to coat. Pour into bowl. Offer pasta with cocktail sauce for dipping. Makes 60 to 80 appetizers, 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 97 cal.; 4 g protein; 5.6 g fat; 7.7 g carbo.; 107 mg sodium; 1.7 mg chol.

Basil Pasta Salad

About 1 pound refrigerated, frozen, or vacuum-packed filled fresh pasta, or about 1/2 pound filled dry pasta 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, or 1/4 cup dry basil leaves 1/2 teaspoon pepper 2 cups (14 oz. total) cherry tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half 1 small cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced Salt Romaine lettuce leaves, rinsend and crisped Greek-style or black ripe olives (optional) Fresh basil springs (optional)

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, bring about 3 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta and boil gently, uncovered, until just barely tender to bite, 4 to 6 minutes for refrigerated or frozen pasta, 10 to 12 minutes for vacuum-packed, or 20 to 25 minutes for dry. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain.

In a large bowl, mix oil, vinegar, chopped basil, and pepper. Lightly mix in pasta, tomatoes, and cucumber. Add salt to taste. Spoon onto lettuce-lined plates. Garnish with olives and basil sprigs. Serves 6 to 8.--April Linton, Seattle.

Per serving: 307 cal.; 10 g protein; 18 g fat; 27 g carbo.; 203 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:949
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