Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Signature Dish: Tortelloni Primavera with Pesto

Tortelloni Primavera with Basil Pesto

Although I do like the challenge of mastering a new recipe, or attempting a new cooking method- I am a dietitian through and through. The proof? Because no matter what I'm making-  I find myself scheming how I can add a vegetable, reduce the butter, increase the fiber, etc. Even if I don't actually do it, it is my heart's desire to somehow get butternut squash puree into the cookie mix (haven't tried that yet..but it's on my mind!) And I have to say, our return from Tuscany left me culinarily (is that a word?) inspired. I usually experience a new burst of confidence and think, at least for a few days, that I can bump up my cooking level from "super easy" to just "easy." Or sometimes tasting somebody else's simple goodness is just the extra little boost I've needed to convince myself to throw that extra spice in the mix.

Last week,  I was planning to make one of our staple meals from my "super DUPER easy" repertorie of recipes: Tortelloni with Basil Pesto. This is Chris's all-time favorite meal. (Cute sidenote: his mom also informed me it was one of his first meals as a child...if that doesn't foreshadow a high-class-future-eater, I don't know what does!). Not shockingly, our local Italian grocery store has an entire aisle of fresh pastas with every imaginable stuffing so we can be pretty fancy without having to do much. This time we opted for Spinach and Ricotta tortelloni:

And even though our basil plant is thriving, I opted for the pre-made pesto also. I was ready to call it a meal when the dietitian voice said "that's not enough fiber!" So I scoured the fridge to see what I could find, and here's what we had:

  • handful of frozen spinach, (mostly thawed and extra water squeezed out)
  • big handful of frozen green beans
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 4 whole sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped
  • 1 can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
Cooking Instructions:

1. Cook 16-20oz tortelloni according to package directions. Tortelloni only takes about 5 minutes.

2. I peeled and prepped the veggies, then heated some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. I added some of the sun-dried tomato oil to the olive oil for a little extra flavor. I added the carrots first, since they seem to take longer, and sauteed for about 2 mins. Next I added the shrooms, Then threw in the spinach and green beans, and finally the tomatoes. I reduced the heat to medium low and let them all cook together for a few minutes.

3. Add a big spoonful (2 tbs) of basil pesto and stirred all the veggies together together. Season with s&p (if needed). Finally I added  1/2 can of chickpeas to the mixture. Turn off heat but allow to stay on the burner to keep warm until ready to mix with pasta.

4. Drain pasta and put back into pot. Toss gently with pesto of choice (we used a good 1/4 cup)

5. Serve tortelloni in shallow bowls and top with vegetable mixture. Say "Yum!" after the first bite, since you will be pleasantly surprised :)

Serves 4-ish.

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