the appetizer:

Whole Grains for Busy People: Fast, Flavor-Packed Meals and More for Everyone by Lorna Sass, includes recipes like Hominy and Kidney Bean Chili; Torticotti; and Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Chorizo.

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Makes 4; Serves 2 to 4


This easy variation on the theme of manicotti calls for whole-wheat tortillas wrapped around a ricotta filling. Having the tortillas ready to go obviates the need to precook pasta as a separate step. Practicality aside, it's just darn good.

Figure that an average eater will have one and a big eater either one and a half or two. Serve the torticotti with fried peppers and onions or a tricolored salad of radicchio, arugula, and endive.

Squeeze the excess liquid from the spinach. Place the spinach, ricotta, pesto, Romano cheese, vinegar, salt, and garlic in a food processor. (Alternatively, blend them together by hand.) Stir in the hazelnuts.

Spread 3/4 cup of filling down the center of each tortilla. Fold each side over to cover the filling. Set 2 torticotti, seam side down, on a large microwaveable plate. Spread about 1/4 cup of sauce on top of each. Repeat to make 2 more torticotti. Cover lightly with waxed paper to catch splatters.

Microwave until heated throughout, about 3 minutes for two and 5 minutes for four.

Alternatively, heat the torticotti, lightly tented with foil, on a nonstick baking pan, in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F, until piping hot, 15 to 20 minutes.

Garnish with Romano cheese before serving.

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This page created May 2009