Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tortelloni with Lemon-Basil Scented Aglia Olio

Tonight I got home later from work than I had planned, so dinner had to be quick. E and I decided on pasta. I had an unopened 10 oz bag of Barilla ricotta and asparagus tortelloni (a little larger than tortellini) which were just dying to be eaten. I know this because they spoke to me! Grin...

While the tortelloni were cooking (10 minutes at a slow simmer was perfect), I made the sauce:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 pinches of red pepper flakes, about 1/8 tsp in total
1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest
1 Tbs capers, rinsed (can use a couple of pickled green spanish olives minced for a similar flavor)
2 Tbs minced fresh basil, -OR- about 1 heaping tsp dried basil
1 Tbs pignoli nuts (can use raw sunflower seeds for a very similar flavor and increased nutrition at a quarter of the price)
OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp of anchovy paste during non-Lenten periods (I always use the anchovy paste for more depth of flavor - don't be afraid that it will impart a fishy flavor - it won't.)

Melt the olive oil and butter together, but do not let it brown. Saute all the remaining ingredients in the oil until the garlic is translucent, and the nuts are fragrant. Taste for salt - I usually put a scant 1/2 tsp of salt in, but your taste may vary. Pour over the drained pasta, toss, squeeze half a lemon over the dish and serve.

Serve sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese, a green salad and sliced tomatoes, with fruit for dessert. A fruity white wine goes well with this meal.

Serves 3-4, or two pasta hounds like us.

Time, including boiling the water for pasta: 20 minutes. Even Rachel Ray would be proud!

Five Stars - this is one of E's favorite meals.