Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ham and Tortellini Toss


With the start of autumn, and in spite of today’s 80-plus temperature, my dinner thoughts turn to hearty dishes that ease the evening chill. However, the recipe must be one compatible with busy fall schedules. This Ham and Tortellini Toss is perfect. The rich, Alfredo-style sauce comforts the soul, but it comes together in less than 30 minutes.


I got the original recipe from my friend, Shannon, in New Hampshire just before I made my move westward. She got it from Pampered Chef. Of course, I’ve tinkered with it a bit along the way.

The original called for fresh baby spinach. Since not everyone likes spinach, and I hardly ever have it on hand, I switched to frozen peas. I’ve also used fresh broccoli, which I steamed to partially cook before adding it to the mix. Both veggies work well. The original also calls for frozen cheese tortellini, but I couldn’t find any here in Topeka. I used Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini, which I keep on-hand in the freezer until I needed.

Oh, and yes, you read the recipe correctly. The tortellini is cooked in just two cups of chicken broth. Don’t worry. It works! Plus, the broth lightens the sauce a bit and adds a lot of flavor. Also, please use good Parmesan cheese and not the stuff in the can. It makes a difference.

Quick to prepare, tasty to eat, and easy to clean-up…this recipe will be an autumn regular.

Ham and Tortellini Toss
Adapted from recipe by Pampered Chef
Serves 2 to 4

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 9-ounce package Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini, or variety of your choice
3 tablespoons unsalted-butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup diced ham
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Pour the chicken broth into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to the package directions until just done. Be sure not to over cook.

While the tortellini cooks, melt the butter in a large, 12-inch, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and flour. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Once the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cheese until melted. Add the ham and peas. The mixture will be very thick at this point.

When the tortellini is ready, pour it and the broth into the skilled with the ham mixture. Stir until combined. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, and cook until you reach the desired thickness. Stir in the black pepper and serve.

   

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