Magazine article Sunset

The Low-Fat Cook

Magazine article Sunset

The Low-Fat Cook

Article excerpt

Healthy choices for the active lifestyle

Saucy ravioli

* The quest to curtail fat when saucing ravioli generally ends with the tomato. And it's a fine choice--but only one. Legumes and vegetables yield many hearty yet lean options when cooked with herbs and spices, then pureed.

Use mild cheese-filled ravioli or tortellini as a neutral foil for these unique sauces. Both pastas come in several shapes, sizes, and colors; smaller pockets tend to hold their shapes best during cooking. And the sauces are smoother if pureed in a blender rather than a food processor.

Ravioli with Split Pea Sauce

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/4 hours

NOTES: Hema Kundargi of Cupertino, California, uses traditional flavors from her native India in this creative sauce.

MAKES: 4 servings

1 quart fat-skimmed chicken broth

1 1/3 cups dried yellow split peas

2 packages (9 oz. each) cheese-filled ravioli or tortellini

3 dried hot chilies (2 in. long)

1/2 teaspoon olive or salad oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 quart baby spinach leaves (about 1/4 lb.), rinsed

1/2 cup red cherry tomatoes (about 1 in.), rinsed and halved

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, bring broth and split peas to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until peas fall apart, about 50 minutes.

2. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring 2 quarts water to a boil; add ravioli. Stir occasionally until pasta is tender to bite, 4 to 6 minutes; drain.

3. Meanwhile, transfer split pea mixture to a blender or food processor; whirl until smooth.

4. Remove and discard stems from chilies; shake out and discard seeds. Wipe the 3- to 4-quart pan dry. Add chilies, oil, garlic, and cumin; stir over medium-high heat until garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute.

5. Pour split pea puree into pan with chili mixture. Add spinach, tomatoes, and turmeric; stir just until steaming.

6. Add drained ravioli to sauce and mix gently. Spoon equally into wide bowls. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 714 cal., 20% (144 cal.) from fat; 46 g protein; 16 g fat (7.5 g sat.); 97 g carbo (8.9 g fiber); 625 mg sodium; 110 mg chol.

Ravioli with Green Pea Pesto

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings

2 packages (9 oz. each) cheese-filled ravioli or tortellini

2 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

2 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed

1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon olive or salad oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

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