Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creamy Tortellini with Spinach & Tomatoes

Mmmm...oh my word...

I love a good pasta, and I've been craving all sorts of pasta these days. I'm always on the lookout for something that's delicious, restaurant-quality, and easy to whip up. This meets all 3 requirements! With just a few minutes, you can easily throw this together, and trust me--it impresses.

I have to give my grandmother credit for this one. This meal was inspired by her. She always made hearty, filling meals and everyone loved everything she ever made. Her gnocchi was legendary and I'm doing my best to cook with love just the way she used to. (And I might as well make some good food along the way, no?)

Creamy Tortellini
(Angie original/My Nina)

16 oz. frozen tortellini, cheese or meat
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes,
1 c. chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 T. fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. cream
1/2 c. milk
2 T. all-purpose flour
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Boil a large pot of water for the tortellini. Bring to a rolling boil, add tortellini, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, or until all tortellini are floating on top of the water.

Once you've got the water and tortellini going, mix together tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, basil, and garlic in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring a few times, until mixture begins to bubble just a touch.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together cream, milk, and flour. Pour into tomato mixture and mix both together until sauce begins to thicken and become a light red color. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it simmers.

When tortellini is ready, drain (don't rinse), and add to saucepan with tomato-cream sauce. Stir it all together, and serve.

  • My grandma will probably yank away my Honorary Italian card for this, but I don't make my own pasta. It's partially in the interest of time, partially because I lack some equipment. However, most Italian restaurants use the frozen stuff and most people never notice the difference. Don't judge me, man!
  • The sauce will thicken as it stands and simmers, so take it off high heat once it's all mixed together or it will start to burn.
  • You could use frozen spinach and dried basil, but...why? In all honesty, the fresh ingredients really make this dish, and they stand up well to the heat. Save the frozen and dried stuff for winter when the fresh stuff is hard to come by.
  • I used 2% milk. Whole milk will work fine, but if you're using skim milk, use about a cup of cream to make sure the sauce thickens. (I know, I know...more cream + skim milk does not equal fewer calories.)
  • If using fresh tomatoes, 5 or 6 chopped and diced tomatoes ought to do the work of 1 can. Once our tomatoes come in (IF they ever come in...) I'll be making dozens of fresh tomato recipes.

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