On February 13th, we celebrate National Tortellini Day, an annual celebration of this versatile Italian pasta. It is a favorite among adults as well as children who like the shape because it is easy to eat. Tortellini is a ring shaped pasta filled with meat, cheese or nuts. It can be used as an ingredient for soup, dinner or breakfast. Homemade tortellini does take some planning but is easy. Here is a link to well described and demonstrated making tortellini
The recipes for using tortellini are endless. Traditional preparation involves tomato sauce and garlic. Mushrooms, cheese and bacon can be added for a variety of flavors. Dried tortellini needs to be cooked prior to using. Once cooked, dried and refrigerated tortellini are interchangeable in recipes.
8 ounces 80/20% ground beef
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cups cold water
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 9 -ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach (about 3 ounces)
Line a 9 x 12 inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons parsley,egg, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper.Mix the meatball mixture is uniform in color. Using a 1 inch ice cream scoop form into 1-inch meatballs pressing the flat end of the scoop containing the meatball filling against the side of the wall of the mixing bowl to obtain uniform portions set aside. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the baking dish and drain on paper towels to remove excess cooking liquid.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour the olive oil in the saucepan and add the carrots and celery to the pot; cook, stirring, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Combine 2 tablespoons parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the tortellini to the saucepan and stir. Cook the tortellini until they float to the top of the water, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach to the saucepan and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
The Outdoor Epicurean
Recipe adapted from The Food Network
Photograph courtesy of Food Network