Since I’ve been blogging and sharing recipes for so many years, there are tons of wonderful recipes in the depth of my archives. Every now and then, I do a quick search and discover a recipe that I’d forgotten about. This recipe for tortellini with squash and pesto is one of them.
I first discovered this recipe years ago when I was living in New York, so you know it’s a good one. The beauty of a dish like this is that it’s the perfect marriage of summer and fall. You might be left with an abundance of basil, squash, or even zucchini from your garden. If so, this is the recipe for you.
It’s quick yet decadent and delicious. Let me know if you give it a try!
Tortellini with Squash and Pesto
You will need: – 3 yellow squash cut into cubes – 3 cloves garlic minced – 4 tablespoons olive oil – 1 16 oz. box tortellini pasta, either dried or fresh work great – 1 cup toasted pine nuts – 1 cup pesto, this can be also be prepared; I like the Cibo brand – 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese – salt and pepper
In a large skillet, add minced garlic, oil, and cubed squash and saute until the squash is a golden brown. Meanwhile, in a large pot filled with water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then drain. In a large serving bowl add the cooked squash, the pesto and toasted nuts, add about 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then add the pasta, and cheese and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and serve with extra grated cheese.
Full disclosure: this is not my favorite pasta dish, however, it is quick easy, and most people LOVE it.
You most likely have many of the ingredients for spaghetti carbonara on hand, and I believe that it can be a recipe open to interpretation. It basically involves pasta, cured pork, hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino, black pepper, and eggs. To me, it’s similar, in some ways, to the Roman pasta dish pasta cacio e uova.
Supposedly this dish first burst on the scene in 1950, which I believe, because it smacks of the 20th century. It is absent from my favorite Italian cookbook, Ada Boni’s 1930 La Cucina Romana(her regional cookbook is available on Amazon in English, the Romana is in Italian) one of the best cookbooks of all time. I don’t make it often, but it appeared on the internet recently as “Carbonara Day” on instagram which I found rather humorous. Even funnier was that I actually made it. Talk about being influenced! I am embarrassed to say I was.
So here’s my recipe, I am sure you’ll love it. It’s comforting and creamy, like bowl of mac and cheese tossed with a little crispy bacon. It actually reminds me of breakfast: bacon, eggs and cheese with spaghetti. No wonder people love it.
Spaghetti Carbonara Serves 4
You will need: – 1 lb. dried Spaghetti
– 8 ounces Speck, proscuttio, or bacon. Basically, a cured pork product cut into bite size pieces
– 3 large eggs scrambled
– 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, pecorino, or any hard cheese
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Set a large pot of water to boil (for pasta). In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Salt boiling water generously; add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs and parmesan. Set aside.
Using a spider, remove pasta from the water and place it into the bowl, leaving some water clinging to it. Working quickly, add hot pasta to the egg mixture. Add bacon; season with salt and pepper, and toss all to combine (heat from pasta will cook eggs). Serve immediately, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
After Monday’s post all about truffles, I’ve been dreaming about this truffle pasta from the archives. It’s delicious and a great way to enjoy the flavors of truffles. You can sub zucchini for any other seasonal squash, or another veggie of your choice. Get creative with it, and let the truffles take center stage!
Truffle Pasta serves 4
You will need:
– – Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound whole-wheat dried spaghettini
– 3/4 pound zucchini sliced into coins
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons minced garlic (NOTE: I always use a micro planer to grate the fresh garlic into the oil)
– 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
– 3 tablespoons truffle oil
Cut the zucchini into thin coins then put oil and grate fresh garlic into a skillet. Heat oil and garlic and add zucchini, saute on high heat until the zucchini is evenly browned. In the meantime, boil the pasta on high, until al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the zucchini, and toss with cheese.
Pull off heat and put pasta into a bowl, finish with the truffle oil, salt and pepper. I also like adding truffle salt if you have it. Serve hot with a nice salad.
Ciao everyone! While we are all at home, our La Fortezza chef, Philip Meeker and I are doing LIVE La Fortezza Cooking Classes on Instagram. In fact, so many of you joined us for our last cooking class, Philip and I decided to host another!
We’ll be sharing two recipes using tortellini which are both fantastic for a weeknight meal. The first is topped with walnut pesto. The second is Chef Philip’s bolognese. It’s delightful on any pasta, but we especially love it on woodfired pizza. I’m posting both of them today, so you have some time to shop for anything you might need. I hope you will join us on Thursday on Instagram at 2 PM EST!
Stay well. x
Greens and Ricotta Stuffed Tortellini with Walnut Pesto Serves 4
Pasta: For Tortelli Pasta, use the Basic Pasta recipe. Find it here.
Fill a 4-quart pot 3/4 full with water. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring water to a boil. Fill a bowl 3/4 full with ice water. Add the kale, arugula, and spinach to the boiling water blanch them quickly about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pull the greens from the pot and plunge into the ice water.
Drain the greens in a sieve and then squeeze the liquid out of them by pressing into the sieve over the sink to remove excess liquid. In a food processor place chilled greens, ricotta, parmesan, pepper, one teaspoon salt, and nutmeg. Blend until a smooth, about 30 seconds. Add 1 egg, and blend. Place the mixture into the fridge until ready to fill the Tortellini.
For the walnut pesto, you will need: – 1 cup shelled walnuts, reserve 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts for garnish
– 1 clove of garlic
– 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan, + ¼ cup for topping
– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 teaspoon of salt
To prepare the walnut sauce:
Preheat the oven to 350° degrees F. Put the whole walnuts on a sheet tray, and put on the middle rack in the oven to lightly roast them to golden brown, about 3-5 minutes watch them so they don’t burn. When the walnuts cool, chop the walnuts *set aside 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts. Combine walnuts and garlic in a food processor, and pulse about 30 seconds. Add parmesan, olive oil, and salt, and blend for 30 seconds to a minute, until combined, it should be a loose consistency.
To prepare tortellini:
Use the directions of the pasta recipe, you should have 4 sheets. Using a 2 “ round cutter to cut the pasta cut our rounds.
Place the filling into a pastry bag. Using the pastry bag place a 1 inch dollop of filling into each circle of dough. When all the rounds are filled. With a finger dip into a bowl of water and then brush water around the filling fold in half press gently to seal, then take the 2 points and pull them to connect press together to form the shape of a tortellini.
Fill a 7 to 8-quart pot 3/4 full with water and add 3 tablespoons salt. Bring to a low boil over high heat, and then reduce to medium-low retaining the gentle boil. Drop tortellini in the water to cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the tortellini using a slotted. Place them in a 4 quart mixing bowl, toss with the Walnut Sauce. Serve immediately.
Spoon the Tortelli onto four bowls, top with grated parmesan.
Chef Philip’s Bolognese
You will need:
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1 lb ground beef (at least 15 % fat)
– 1 carrot, chopped
– 4 ribs of celery chopped
– 1 yellow onion, chopped
– 1 teaspoon kosher salt
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 14 oz can Mutti polpo tomatoes
Place the olive oil in a Dutch over. Add the ground beef to one side of the pan, it should be in
one piece. Chef’s Tip: This allows the ground beef brown evenly and it is less likely to dry out.
Add the carrot, celery, onion, and sprinkle the salt over the top. On medium heat sauté the meat
until it is deep brown and then flip it, making sure to keep it whole, let it brown on the other side.
Meanwhile, stir your veggies to ensure that they don’t burn they will be cooking on the other half
of the pot, sauté them until caramelized. They will be a nice brown color.
When the veggies are cooked, stir in the garlic, and then begin to break up the ground beef with
a heat proof spatula mixing it into the veggies. Once the ground beef is completely broken up,
add the tomatoes with their juice. Break up the tomatoes with your spoon and let them gently
cook down until they’re reduced by half. At this point, you’re Bolognese should be finished
cooking and it’s ready to use on pasta or pizza.
Chef’s Tip: Grass fed ground beef is much better than choice or prime when it comes to flavor.
At the end of each summer, I make sure to harvest all the basil in my garden. Then, I implement a little secret of mine to ensure pesto year-round: I make this summer pesto recipe and freeze it. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays. When you have a craving for fresh pesto, simply remove a few ice cubes, and add them to a pan. You’ll be able to have fresh pesto year-round!
This pesto recipe is straight from the source. My sweet Ligurian friend Monica Damonte is not only a great interior designer but a wonderful host and cook. Here’s her version of pesto ala Liguria. Hers has a twist with Ricotta Salata on top; it’s delish.
Coin Pasta with Pesto Serves 6
You will need:
– 4 cups basil
– 1 cup olive oil
– 1¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 4 cups dried coin pasta, or trofie pasta
– 12 cups water for boiling the pasta, reserve ¼ cup pasta water
– 1 cup ricotta salata
– ¼ cup chopped tomato
– 6 mint leaves
Place basil, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, oil and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse for 3 minutes until it forms a paste. Set aside.
In a large pot cook pasta for 10 minutes until al dente and drain. In a large bowl combine pasta, pesto, and the reserved water (¼ cup). Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of ricotta salata. Top each serving with a mint leaf and tomato for garnish. Serve immediately. Place the extra Parmesan on the table for guests.