Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Asparagus and Tortellini Salad

Can you believe that I have been the proud owner of a pasta maker for five whole months and it's only now that I've actually used it?  I kept looking at it, thinking of all of the delicious pastas that I wanted to try out, yet there it sat.  It was just crying out to be used and I ignored it.


This year has been one of the busiest times of my life.  I've hardly had time to do my laundry, nonetheless hand make pasta.  With trying to complete two projects at work, visiting boyfriend every other weekend in NJ and searching for a job, almost every minute has been spoken for.  Buying storebought pasta just seemed like the easy thing to do.


Last week I decided to ignore the calls of the pasta maker no more!  I was going to make one of my favorite pasta dinners and I would make the tortellini!  With a DVR full of shows from the past two weeks, I set out on the journey of making my tortellinis.  It was fun!  It was easy!  It was not a short process.  First I made the pasta dough (same one I used in this recipe), then I stirred together the filling, then it was time to roll.


I secured the pasta maker to the countertop.  It's a heavy little guy, but you still need to clamp it to your countertop in order to roll out the dough.  So I rolled and rolled the dough, slowly closing the wheels to get a thinner and thinner dough.


I stamped out litle circles using my trusty 2-inch biscuit cutter.


I added a 1/2 tsp of filling to the circle...


Folded it over and went pinch pinch pinch to close...


Then pinched them in the center.  Not exactly what a tortellini is supposed to look like, but I thought they looked cute this way.  Then I set them on a baking sheet and into the fridge they went.  Overnight they sat and dried out.


The next day I had adorable little tortellinis. 


See, aren't they cute! 


Then I boiled them up with some asparagus and yellow peppers, tossed them in dressing and I had dinner!  Phew, quite the process, but totally worth it.  I'm looking forward to trying out other filling recipes, fresh pasta is just the best.

Asparagus & Tortellini Salad
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

You can also buy two packages of storebought tortellini, if you are in a time crunch or don't feel like making your own pasta.  This is great hot or cold and would make a wonderful cold salad to bring to a picnic since there is no mayo!

Pasta Filling

1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup parmesan
1 egg
salt
pepper

Stir together the ingredients for the pasta filling and set aside.  Make the pasta from this recipe and roll out to less that 1/8-inch thick.  You can use a pasta maker or a rolling pin (that's how I made pasta before my new machine!)  Stamp 2-inch circles and fill with 1/2-tsp of filling.  Pinch closed and form into tortellinis.  Allow to dry for at least two hours or overnight.  Cook in a pot of salted, boiling water.  The tortellinis are done once they float to the surface.
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch sections
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Once you have removed the tortellinis from the boiling water, add the asparagus and yellow pepper.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, just until tender-crisp.

Combine all of the remaining ingredients together in a small jar.  Shake to combine then pour over pasta and vegetables.  Toss to coat and dish out a portion for yourself.
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