Cheese and Sausage Lasagna Bites
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from the casing
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
- Pinch salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 30 won ton wrappers, covered with a damp cloth to keep moist
- 2 to 3 cups Homemade Red Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought sauce
- Finely grated Parmesan
- 30 fresh basil sprigs
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until it is brown and cooked through, breaking into little pieces with a spoon as it cooks. Drain on paper towels.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, 1 beaten egg, the Essence, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Make an egg wash with the remaining egg and 1 teaspoon of water.
Working 1 at a time, place 1 teaspoon of the cheese filling in the center of each won ton wrapper. Top with a little bit of the sausage and a small dollop of the sauce. With a pastry brush or a finger, dab a small amount of egg wash along 1 edge of the won ton wrapper. Gather up the ends of wrapper into the center to make a little dumpling or "purse" shape. Press well to seal Place on a baking sheet lightly dusted with cornstarch and cover with a cloth to prevent from drying out. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. If desired, refrigerate, tightly covered with plastic wrap for up to 2 hours until ready to cook.
To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In batches, add the ravioli and cook until they are tender and float to the top, about 2 minutes. Gently remove with a slotted spoon and drain on towels. Lightly sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.
Top each "purse" with a small sprig of basil.Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.Homemade Red Sauce:
1 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, broken into pieces and their juice
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, basil, oregano and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, wine, water, and sugar, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered until thick and fragrant, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, and use as needed.
Yield: about 4 cups
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