This Rich Dish Will Make Your Heart Sing

FASTLANE FEAST

October 10, 1990|By Charlyne Varkonyi

The following Fastlane Feast recipe printed in last week's A La Carte section contained a typographical error. Here is the corrected version.

***Ravioli with

% zucchini-walnut sauce

Makes 4 servings.

9 ounces fresh meat-filled ravioli from the dairy case

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon margarine

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 green onions

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms

2 small zucchini, about 6 inches long by 1-inch diameter

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup whole walnuts, about 4 ounces

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

salt and white pepper, to taste

basil, for garnish

4 teaspoons walnut pieces, for garnish

Fill a large pot with water and allow to come to a boil. Add salt, add pasta and cook according to package directions, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the butter and olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and turn the heat on high. Chop green onions and slice shiitakes into thin slivers. When oil and butter are hot, saute the onions and shiitakes until soft, about 3 minutes. Wash zucchini, remove outer skin with a potato peeler and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a rectangular microwave dish with cover and cook on HIGH 4 minutes.

Place walnuts, zucchini, basil leaves and cooked zucchini in a food processor with a metal blade and process for 20 to 30 seconds, until it forms a coarse textured paste. Add the Parmesan and mix again, about 4 seconds.

Add the zucchini-walnut mixture to the frying pan and heat through. Gradually stir in the cream and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture bubbles, about 3 to 4 minutes. The sauce should have a firm, not watery texture. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Divide the sauce equally and put on the bottom of four dinner plates. Arrange the ravioli in a circle with one in the middle. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh basil and 1 teaspoon walnut pieces per serving.

These days when we look to classic recipes for inspiration, we often wonder how our bodies survived. The dishes may have tasted rich and wonderful, but the fat content could send even the Dairy Queen into convulsions.

This Fastlane Feast takes its inspiration from a classic Italian recipe for ravioli con salsa di noci, or ravioli with walnut sauce. The original recipe from Liquria called for ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cups walnuts, 7 ounces of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of butter and 3 1/2 ounces of heavy cream. Just thinking about the attack of the killer fats conjures up thoughts of Herman's Hermits singing, "Baby, baby, can't you hear my heart beat?" Ugh.

The challenge was how to cut the fat without sacrificing flavor. This is still far from the kind of meal that would warm the cockles of nutrition guru Jane Brody's heart, but the fat is sliced considerably from the original and the flavor is spectacular. Serve it to during-the-week company; it can compete with a meal in any four-star restaurant.

Instead of using heavy cream, the sauce is thickened with a zucchini, basil, walnut and Parmesan cheese puree and highlighted with half and half. Serve it with a simple salad of radicchio, Boston lettuce and toma toes, topped with diet dressing. And use a cooling lemon sorbet for dessert.

Items you should have in your pantry include: salt, margarine, extra-virgin olive oil, green onions, Parmesan cheese, white pepper, bottled diet vinaigrette dressing.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list should include:

* 9 ounces fresh meat-filled ravioli from the dairy case

* 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms

* 1 package whole walnuts, 4 ounces

* 1 package walnut pieces, 4 ounces

* 1 pint half and half

* 1 bunch fresh basil leaves

* 1 small head radicchio

* 1 head Boston lettuce

* 1 large tomato

* 1 pint lemon sorbet

Ravioli with zucchini-walnut sauce

Makes 4 servings

9 ounces fresh meat-filled ravioli from the dairy case

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 green onions

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms

2 small zucchini, about 6 inches long by 1-inch diameter

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup whole walnuts, about 4 ounces

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

salt and white pepper, to taste

basil, for garnish

walnut pieces, for garnish

Fill a large pot with water and allow to come to a boil. Add salt, add pasta and cook according to package directions, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the butter and olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and turn the heat on high. Chop green onions and slice shiitakes into thin slivers. When oil and butter are hot, saute the onions and shiitakes until soft, about 3 minutes. Wash zucchini, remove outer skin with a potato peeler and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a rectangular microwave dish with cover and cook on HIGH for 4 minutes.

Place walnuts, zucchini, basil leaves and cooked zucchini in a food processor with a metal blade and process for 20 to 30 minutes, until it forms a coarse textured paste. Add the Parmesan and mix again, about 4 seconds.

Add the zucchini-walnut mixture to the frying pan and heat through. Gradually stir in the cream and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture bubbles, about 3 to 4 minutes. The sauce should have a firm, not watery texture. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Divide the sauce equally and put on the bottom of four dinner plates. Arrange the ravioli in a circle with one in the middle. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh basil and walnut pieces.

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