Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Tortellini

I managed not to cook for Thanksgiving this year, except for our annual day-after potluck. Our group of friends all get together to eat deep-fried turkey and a buffet of sides. In addition to making gravy and stuffing, I was tasked with bringing a pasta dish that was hot, meaty, and creamy. Like Top Chef, except instead of a basket of ingredients I got a basket of adjectives. I decided to make a creamy pasta primavera with tortellini and Italian sausage. Tortellini is a nice firm, starchy pasta that can hold up to a thick, creamy sauce without falling apart, and it has little nooks where the sauce and veggies can hide.

When I was at the grocery store I saw Italian sausage-stuffed tortellini, so I grabbed it, thinking I could cut out a step. Unfortunately, it was actually ravioli, not tortellini. Apparently I'm really bad at reading. I didn't realize I had ravioli until I was actually cooking the dish so I decided to just go with it. Ravioli is so fragile, it started tearing when I was mixing it into the sauce. My advice: read your packages carefully and make sure you buy tortellini. If you want to add meat, you can buy Italian sausage and remove it from the casing before cooking.

2 Packages Tortellini (in the Refrigerated Pasta Section)
1 Bag Frozen Spinach (16oz), Thawed and Squeezed Dry
1 Container Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1 Container Sliced Mushrooms
2 Medium Onions, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Container Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Brick of Cream Cheese (8oz), Cut into Cubes
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup Half-and-Half
Italian Seasoning

Prepare pasta according to directions on the package.

Heat olive oil in a pan, melt butter and add mushrooms and onions. Cook until soft and add garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Take pan off of the heat and add cubed cream cheese, stirring well until melted. Add half and half to reach desired consistency.

Add spinach and tomatoes and mix well.

Add cooked pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

This is best served right away. I tried to make it as close to dinner time as possible, but the boyfriend and I were asked to run some errands on the way out so it was cold by the time we got there. To reheat, I put it in a 200 degree oven for about 2 hours to make sure it heated evenly.

It still met rave reviews, despite all of my shortcomings!


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