Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tortellini Alfredo

Opening a restaurant is not easy. It's been an extremely busy start to the new year when that's your major focus. Since Monday, I've been putting in 12+ hours each day at the restaurant to get it ready. I'm about to leave in a few minutes for another long day and that means my time for leisurely cooking is pretty much close to nothing. However I have managed to get some cooking time squeezed in. For example, this Tortellini Alfredo was a dish I whipped up in less than 20 minutes... so cooking is still possible despite a busy schedule. So if I'm able to get a meal on the table with minimal time, I'm sure others can too!

This recipe is really all about the alfredo sauce. Forget the prepared jars of sauce at the store... it's just as easy to make a good alfredo sauce from scratch. Heavy cream is simmered until it reduces and thickens a bit - which is the secret here. Once reduced, the remaining ingredients of pasta, vegetables,  some reserved pasta water, Parmesan cheese, pepper and nutmeg are added. You can pair it with any pasta and/or vegetable of your choice because in my book, alfredo sauce makes things taste better. In this case, I tossed the alfredo sauce with store bought spinach and cheese tortellini, peas and some ham.

Tortellini Alfredo
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
9 ounces fresh tortellini (homemade or storebought)
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed
1/4 cup chopped cooked ham

Bring 1 cup of the heavy cream and the butter to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the mixture reduces to 2/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

While the cream reduces, bring 4 1/2 quarts water to a rolling boil, covered, in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Using a ladle or heatproof measuring cup, scoop about 1/2 cup boiling water into each serving bowl set the bowls aside to warm. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to the pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until just shy of al dente.

Meanwhile, return the cream mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and add the pasta, Parmesan, nutmeg, peas and ham to the cream mixture. Cook over low heat, tossing the pasta with tongs to combine, until the cheese is melted, the sauce coats the pasta, and the pasta is just al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Working quickly, empty the serving bowls of the water, divide the pasta among the bowls, tossing the pasta to coat well with sauce. Serve immediately


Christina said...

What a great idea using ham instead of bacon or panchetta!

innochkaskitchen said...

This looks so good! I think I'll try it out for Friday night (that's pasta night in our house)!

dining room tables said...

This is something so interesting! I would love to try this one. Really looks good!

Kate @ said...

That looks so good! Congrats on Top 9!!!

Michelle O said...

YUM! And congrats on the Top 9. Love your blog :) New Follower

Mina @ Angellove's Cooking said...

I love these Tortellini!!! And congrats on top 9!

Charmaine said...

Thanks for giving me a recipe to use tonight. Leftover ham in the freezer from Thanksgiving will be perfect!

TasteMyPlate said...

This is a great looking dish! yum!!

Keena said...

I've made alfredo sauce from scratch many, many times.. but I REALLY like this recipe! I tried it a week ago and loved it. I'm making it again tonight! :)

The two things that made it better were: a.) the longer simmering time for the sauce, which allows it to thicken up quite nicely; and b.) the NUTMEG. I never would have considered nutmeg, but it adds the perfect touch.

Thanks so much for this recipe, and best of luck to you and your restaurant! :)

Kathryn Michelle Jenkins said...

this look so yummy. I will have to try it. thanks for the idea!


Anonymous said...

how many people can this feed...?

Joelen said...

Anonymous - this serves 4 to 6 as a first course.

Karm said...

Made this last night...pure comfort food! We have a new family favorite!

Anonymous said...

What do I do with the 1/4 cup of water I've reserved?

Joelen Tan said...

Anonymous - Thank you! I realized that I didn't use the reserved water so I updated the recipe to reflect that. The sauce was enough to coat the pasta and the additional water wasn't necessary. Thanks for asking!

Sara said...

Oooh, yum, this looks so delicious! I adore tortellini but I usually put it in soup...this is a great new way to make it! :)

Anonymous said...

Where can you buy this cheese

Joelen Tan said...

Anonymous - you can get Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in the deli or specialty cheese section of most supermarkets. Hope this helps!

Mahmudul Hasan said...

That's such a great recipe indeed.lovely dish.Nice recipe.
Tortellini recipes

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! I used chicken instead of the ham & whole wheat tortellini.

Anonymous said...

This looks so delicious. But I will make it low calorie to not feel guilty. ������

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