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Ravioli With a Cherry (Tomato) On Top

Cherry Tomatoes in a Pile

A couple of important things are going on here at your favorite Underground. First, the garden’s producing mounds of lovely chiles and cherry tomatoes. Indeed, we’re finally far enough ahead that we’re sharing fresh veggies with all our friends who aren’t hiding from already being buried in little red menaces. With six cherry tomato plants, there are lots of juicy red orbs. Dark purple ones too, since we have two heirloom black cherry plants. The Husky Cherries we planted are doing very well, and I can sometimes pick a whole basket of orange-red, round fruit in an evening.

The other thing that’s keeping us riveted to our calorie counters occupying our full, hunger-coerced attention important to the non-Elf denizens hereabouts is we’re dieting and exercising. Yep, you heard it here. It’s not a typo either. So PJ and I are finding recipes that are brimming with flavor while decidedly short on calories. So far, so good if you can believe our calorie-counting phone apps. Next up, some guidance from personal trainers will help us amp up the exercise regimes. By Christmas there won’t be anybody who will recognize us after we lose a combined weight total equal to at least one Olsen twin.

Did I mention recipes? This is an area that I enjoy exploring, naturally. And today I want to share one that certainly meets our current needs: Tasty, filling, and lower-calorie. Oh, it also had to help us dig out from under the huge red mound occupying all the counter space in our kitchen use a few tomatoes too. I call it Zesty Ravioli With Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese. I got the idea from this website and adjusted it to suit our tastes. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Ravioli

  • A pint or so of cherry tomatoes, any color
  • A package of shredded mozzarella cheese; I used low-fat
  • One ounce of extra-virgin olive oil
  • About a third of a cup of fresh basil; I picked it from the herb garden, “regular” and lemon basil leaves
  • A tablespoon of minced garlic, more or less
  • One ripe, red jalapeño, seeded and finely minced
  • A tablespoon of minced flat-leaf parsley, plus some for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pack of high-quality, frozen ravioli, cheese-filled; mine was 24 ounces

Here’s how to proceed: Wash and halve the tomatoes, saving a few for plate garnish.  (Visual appeal matters, and a low-calorie edible garnish does wonders for getting diners to clean their plates.) In a large mixing bowl, toss together everything but the pasta, setting aside the garnishes. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to directions. Drain, and dress the pasta with a small amount of olive oil (if you like), then plate the ravioli. I cheated and used plates with a wide, colorful pattern around the edge; that way I can use less pasta and it appears like the plate is quite full. Spoon over some of the topping, grate on a little Parmigiano cheese if you like, then garnish with parsley and tomatoes (around the edge of the plate) and serve while the pasta’s hot. Pair with iced tea (I like unsweetened, actually) and you’ve got a light meal that appears to be a big Italian feast. Just what the diet doctor ordered!

This recipe makes 5-6 servings, so I packaged up the rest for lunches. The chile’s not required if you don’t like spicy, although one little jalapeño’s really quite mild. You could use red pepper flakes to get a bit of zing, of course. If the salad topping’s too dry for you, add a bit more olive oil; just remember, oil is fat, and that’s a lot of calories…

Pile On the (Little Red Menaces) Heat!

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