Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tortellini with Ham & Cream Sauce

At the grocery store this week, I saw a package of tortellini and was inspired.  I love tortellini.  Way back when, I would buy the spinach filled variety, but I haven't been able to find that in a few years.  I couldn't even find the spinach and cheese variety this time, so I settled for just cheese filled.  Then I tried to figure out what to put with it.  I found some shredded parmesan, chopped ham, grape tomatoes, and a zucchini.  I figured I would google for a recipe when I got home.

My search led me to an article published in the Gadsden Times back in 1986, where I found a recipe called Tortellini with Ham & Cheese Sauce.  As I was gathering my ingredients today, I noticed that we were out of onion, so I sent my son to the store while I started chopping all the veggies-something my hubby calls mis en place.  I am just guessing on that spelling.

Zucchini-I had only one, so that's all I used, and I chopped it in small pieces since my boys don't like it.  I cut the whole pint of grape tomatoes into about 2 or 3 pieces each-but I had no desire to peel them, so that just didn't happen.
As to the "hot pepper" the recipe called for, I grabbed a frozen jalapeno that was from our garden last year.
Yum!  Don't all the veggies and ham look so good cooking up together?  I cooked it all up in basil infused olive oil since I couldn't find the regular-although I am sure it was somewhere right under my nose.
I also rarely have heavy cream at my house unless it is November or December and we plan to do a lot of baking.  My coffee creamer wouldn't work-it is flavored with York Peppermint Patty.  My choices:  1% milk or evaporated milk.  I went with the evaporated milk.  I also used the whole can-way more than it called for.  I also used way more water from the tortellini than called for.  Unfortunately, this made it pretty runny, but the flavor was great!  It almost could have been called Tortellini Soup.  I skipped out on the scallions and used extra parmesan instead.  Maybe the next time I am in the mood for tortellini I will remember this yummy recipe!
Here is the recipe I typed from the newspaper article:

Tortellini with Ham & Cream Sauce
From the Gadsden Times December 3, 1986
By Pierre Franey

4 quarts water
salt to taste as desired
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 pound zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 2 cups
1 1/4 pounds red, ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 3 cups
1 tsp finely minced, seeded hot pepper, optional
1 9 ounce package fresh or dried cheese tortellini
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions

1. Bring the water to a boil and add salt.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic and onions.  Cook briefly until wilted.  Add the ham, and cook stirring, about 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes.  Add the pepper and continue cooking about 5 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, add the tortellini to the boiling water, and cook 5 to 8 minutes or cook to the desired degree of doneness.  Scoop out and reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  Drain the tortellini.
4.  Add the 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to the sauce, along with the cream and cheese.  Stir.  Add the tortellini and blend well.  Sprinkle with scallions and serve.
Yield:  4 servings

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