Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tortellini Alfredo and a Side

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Lisa apparently likes LOVES tortellini, so when she saw it in the store, she was tempted. Thomas, being the ever-adventurous fool, thwarts the purchase by a simple and effective phrase: "Why don't we make it?" We have yet to be unsuccessful (and in fact everything we've posted is delicious), but tortellini-making is not for the faint of heart. You've been warned. The mozzarella sticks are quite easy and tasty, though, so even if you skip ahead, give them a try.

Tortellini Alfredo

While making this delicious pasta, we learned some lessons about life. First of all, even when you have someone else's detailed instruction or advice, it may not apply to your situation. It helps to be flexible and creative enough to try things they didn't, even without knowing what the consequences will be. Second, you can't make it through life on your own. Everyone comes across unexpected and difficult trials, and we all need somebody to help us through! Finally, things take time. If you want the best for yourself and your family, you have to put in the effort and stick around till things turn out.

We adapted the tortellini recipe found here.


3 1/2 cups flour
5 large (or 4 jumbo) eggs

1) Mix flour and eggs together. We used the advice found on the site mentioned above; we put the flour on the table and made a well for the eggs, then began mixing with a fork. After a while, we tossed the fork and used our hands.
2) Knead forever. The pasta-making alone took us probably an hour or two.
3) If you're like us, and you're making this in Utah (read VERY DRY) in the summer (read HOT), you will find that your dough is drying out very quickly and completely falling apart. We sprinkled some water in when this happened and it seemed to help.
4) Once the gluten begins to develop and your dough is soft (for far more detail, use the link above), wrap your dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so.
5) While waiting, work on your pasta filling (below) and start your sauce (further below).
6) When ready, divide up the dough so you are working with a small portion (a fourth or so) at a time. Keep the rest covered.
7) Roll out the dough. You want it very thin. It is very thick, heavy dough and you will use your muscles. It is dry, though, so you won't need to flour your work surface.
8) Immediately cut out your tortellini circles. We used a small (2" or so) glass bowl. Keep them covered until you fill them.
9) You can use scraps again, but you will need to wet them because they'll dry out before you can re-roll them.
10) When you fill them, don't over-fill them! You want just a small bit. Seal them with a small bit of water; fold them in half. Then shape them (the corners of the half circle will overlap).
11) Once they're all ready (we had about 50), boil them in water until the pasta is to your liking!


approx. 8 oz. ricotta cheese
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
seasonings to taste (we used minced garlic and Italian seasoning)

1) Grate mozzarella (and Parmesan if you buy in a block).
2) Combine all ingredients. Taste-test and alter until you're happy with it.
3) Use this to fill your pasta circles to make tortellini!


1/2 lb bacon
a few mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 cup or so of milk
3 Tbsp butter
a bit of cheese - we used what we had leftover from our tortellini filling - and it worked out just right.
2 Tbsp (approx) flour

1) Cook bacon.
2) Use some bacon grease to sautee mushrooms. Add 1 Tbsp butter and some seasoning (garlic, pepper).
3) Crumble bacon and cut up uncooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to sauteing mushrooms.
4) Use a low heat setting. We let this sit on the stove, slowly simmering, while we rolled/cut/stuffed our pasta dough.
5) In a saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp butter.
6) Add milk. Stir for a few minutes.
7) Add cheese. Stir until melted in.
8) Add flour. You can whisk this so it blends smoothly into the sauce. This will thicken the ingredients into a sauce.
9) Add mushroom/bacon/chicken mixture to sauce.
10) Pour over cooked tortellini and enjoy!

(our favorite deal - $5.37 for 3 lbs at Walmart)

Mozzarella Sticks(adapted from this recipe)

about 12 oz. mozzarella cheese
about 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
some salt
3 large eggs
vegetable oil for deep-frying

1) Cut cheese into small sticks - about 4 inches * 1/2 * 1/2.
2) In a small bowl (but not too small - you'll need to be able to dip cheese sticks in), combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and salt/other seasonings (to taste).
3) In another small bowl, mix up eggs.
4) One cheese stick at a time, dip into eggs, then into bread crumb/cheese/seasoning mixture. Coat well, and set on a plate or something.
5) Once completed, do this a second time (so you'll have 2 layers each of egg/bread crumb mixture on each cheese stick). It's ok if they break, just make sure the ends get egg/bread crumbs on them too.
6) When they've all been dipped and double-dipped (hehe), stick them all in the freezer for a little while, until they are frozen.
7) Once frozen, remove from freezer. Pour some vegetable oil into a small pan and heat it up.
8) Add cheese sticks to oil. Use tongs to flip them. Once they're a pretty golden-brown color, you can take them out and let them rest on a paper towel to drain the grease. Enjoy!

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