Crispy Cream Cheese and Sausage Wontons With Balsamic Marinara Dipping Sauce

Makes 48.

Note: Wontons are filled with a creamy, cheesy Italian sausage filling and pan-fried until golden brown. A quick and easy dipping sauce made with marinara sauce and balsamic vinegar has just enough acidity to cut through the richness of the wontons. Find wonton wrappers in the produce section of the supermarket. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• 4 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

• 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil, plus more cut in julienne for garnish, divided

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. black pepper

• 1 egg, beaten

• 48 wonton wrappers (see Note)

• Vegetable oil

• 2 c. marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought), warmed

• 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


In a medium skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and cool for 5 minutes.

Add the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup chopped basil, salt and black pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the egg and 2 tablespoons water.

Place 8 wonton wrappers on work surface. Brush edges of each wrapper with egg. Place 2 teaspoons sausage mixture in middle. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Press all edges to seal, pressing out any air pockets. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, add 1/4 inch oil to pan and warm over medium-high heat until hot. Place 8 to 10 wontons in skillet; cook 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until both sides are browned. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining wontons.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the marinara sauce with the vinegar. Place wontons on a serving platter and garnish with Parmesan cheese and julienned basil. Serve with the marinara dipping sauce.

To make ahead: Wontons can be made and frozen, uncooked, in a single layer on a large baking sheet until firm, about1 hour. Transfer to a freezer bag. Wontons can be frozen for 1 month. They can be fried directly from the freezer, adding 1 or 2 minutes to the cooking time.