Adriatic Ravioli

Course : Italian
Serves: 4
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1 pound asparagus -- fresh
1 pound cheese ravioli -- small, frozen
5 tablespoons butter -- or margarine
1 large red bell pepper -- seeded and cut into -- thin 2-inch-long strips -- -- (1 cup)
1/2 pound mushrooms -- thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves -- peeled and minced
3 tablespoons unbleached white flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika -- plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh basil -- chopped
1/2 cup Romano cheese (2 ounces) -- finely grated
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup parmesan cheese for topping

Preparation / Directions:

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Snap off and discard the tough asparagus ends, and cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. You will have about 3 cups of asparagus. Steam until barely tender, 6 to 8 minutes, and set aside. Begin cooking the ravioli, stirring occasionally. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté‚ the red pepper, mushrooms, and garlic until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and let it cook for a minute or two. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the salt, paprika, mustard, basil, Romano cheese, and pepper to taste stirring until the cheese is melted. Reduce the heat to very low, and stir in the sautéed vegetables. When the ravioli is tender and begins to float , after about 10 to 12 minutes, drain it well, and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Pour on the sauce, and toss gently. Garnish with paprika, and serve with Parmesan on the side. Tender ravioli, asparagus, and mushrooms tossed with a Dijon and basil cheese sauce make for this elegant entree, named for Italy's beautiful Adriatic coast. 4 servings Ginny Callan, Beyond The Moon Cookbook, more vegetarian recipes from the author of Horn of the Moon Cookboo

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