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The first time that I ever remember eating tortellini was probably back when I was in junior high (yikes - maybe even further back than that!) My dad must have been in charge of dinner that night because I remember he was the one standing at the stove cooking up those perfect little tender shells stuffed with fresh cheeses. And yeah, he even used BUITONI® pasta back then too.
Now, of course he is and has always been a much different home cook than myself. He had made something that was a little heavier; some sort of Alfredo sauce to go over the tortellini and green peas, which was then topped off with some bits of bacon. Talk about decadent, but at least he had some green in there!
It was one of the most amazing things that I had ever tasted.
I'm not sure where he got the original recipe idea from, but I know that for one reason or another that meal still stands out in my mind today.
The first thing I decided upon was BUITONI® tortellini, which is a great everyday addition to any family dinner. It makes preparation a breeze and is easily turned into a perfectly balanced meal in itself with just a few simple and fresh ingredients added. It helps too that BUITONI® tortellini is made with only quality and fresh ingredients as well! And we all know how much of a label reader I am. BUITONI® pasta is made fresh from three simple ingredients, most of which could be found in any pantry or fridge: eggs, semolina flour and water. The tortellini that I went with here was filled with nothing more than familiar Italian cheeses, again most of which can be found in your own fridge. Especially if you're a cheese lover as I am!
I ended up drawing some inspiration for this recipe from that very first memory I have of eating tortellini by using fresh green peas and a simple and fresh three cheese tortellini. But, being as I wanted to do a lighter take on the meal, I added in some baby spinach and swapped out the heavier Alfredo for a simple broth 'sauce'.
I definitely was able to get my life a little more back to balance with this fresh take on an old family favorite. This meal was quick and easy to toss together with only a handful of simple ingredients, including BUITONI® tortellini and some fresh vegetables.
Do you know what's even funnier about my first memory of tortellini? When I was a little girl, maybe 5 years old, I wouldn't eat anything that I knew my dad cooked. My parents would often have to lie to me and tell me that my mom had cooked whatever it was.
I couldn't tell you why I wouldn't eat his food. Perhaps I thought boys had cooties or something? I was a rather strange child. At one point, I even had to be convinced that the beef I was eating came from a beef tree because I didn't want to be eating a cow. No wonder I am the way I am with food now, thanks y'all! By the time I was in middle school though, my mentality had been completely reversed. I become more apt to eating what my dad cooked rather than what my mom had!
Life, yeah? It's all about balance.
Spinach & Pea Tortellini
Servings: 4 • Size: About 1 1/2 Cups • Calories: 351.7 • Fat: 9.5 g • Carb: 49.1 g • Fiber: 6.3 g • Protein: 17.7 g • Sugar: 4.7 g • Sodium: 545.7 mg
20 Oz. BUITONI® Three Cheese Tortellini
8 Oz. Peas (Fresh or Frozen - I used fresh.)
1/2 Medium Red Onion, Chopped
1 Tbsp. Light Unsalted Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/2 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
2 C. Loosely Packed Baby Spinach
Shredded Italian Cheese (Optional)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Get a pot of water boiling and cook the tortellini according to package directions.
Add the peas into the tortellini in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
Once the tortellini and peas are done, drain and set aside.
While the pasta is draining, place the red onion and butter into a large stock pot. Sauté over medium-high heat for a minute or two before adding in the garlic; reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for another minute or so.
Add the chicken broth to the pot and allow for it to come to a brief simmer before reducing the heat to low.
This is going to be your 'sauce' so you don't want it to cook down too much.
Add the tortellini and peas to the broth mixture in the pot.
Top the pasta mixture with the baby spinach and allow it to wilt slightly before removing the skillet from the heat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Serve right away with an optional garnish of parmesan if desired.
I've shared my fresh and simple tortellini dinner experience with you; I'd love to hear about yours! Leave a comment telling me how you plan on getting back to balance this year!