Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fresh produce meets pasta
with Summer Garden Tortelloni

This time of year, I’m always on the lookout for quick, easy, and delicious ways to use summer produce such as corn, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.
   And if the recipes I find use fresh herbs, that’s a bonus!
   My husband and I have a favorite recipe that fits the bill in all respects: it’s quick, easy, delicious, and uses fresh vegetables and an herb: fresh basil.
   It’s Summer Garden Tortelloni (click here for the recipe at the website), and we make it several times a year.
   The dish is terrific for a weeknight, and is definitely family-friendly.
   The recipe calls for dried cheese tortelloni, which, you are reading correctly, is slightly different from tortellini. Tortelloni, apparently, is the same size as tortellini, but larger.
   Naturally, then, dried cheese tortellini is a perfect substitute to tortelloni.
   (There's a Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers joke in here somewhere.)
   You’ll find dried cheese tortellini in the fresh, ready-to-go pasta section of the supermarket that often lurks near the deli meats. Olivieri is a popular brand of fresh pasta. We always use the whole wheat variety, which works wonderfully.
   Speaking of the deli, this is the best place to find prosciutto (called for in the recipe), which you may find pre-packaged with other fancy meats, or behind the deli counter.
   The recipe also calls for fresh corn, and here’s my no-fail way to de-cob corn. Place the cob (de-husked, of course!), narrower side down, in the middle tube of an angel-food cake pan. Using a knife, scrape downwards on the cob to release the kernels into the pan.
   Here’s how the dish is made.
   The tortelloni (or tortellini!) is boiled and drained.
   Proscuitto, a finely chopped garlic clove, and corn are cooked in a skillet. Two medium tomatoes are chopped.
   The pasta, corn mixture, tomatoes and fresh basil are combined and tossed.
   Voila – a garden in a dish!

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