As if tortellini wasn’t good enough on it’s own, throw in some peas, asparagus and bacon- Then toss it in a creamy basil sauce and you have yourself a pretty crackin’ meal. This is another gem from my Cooks Illustrated 30-minute Recipes book. Everything I’ve tried from this particular cookbook has been great and I highly suggest purchasing the book. It takes a lot of basic ingredients and dishes and makes them more flavorful and somehow faster to make than other recipes.
The original recipe called for tarragon instead of basil, but I already had fresh basil and I couldn’t get myself to buy fresh tarragon just for this recipe. If you prefer the flavor of tarragon, go ahead and switch it out with the same measurements as the basil. I don’t know about you but I find that tarragon taste a bit like black licorice, which I hate, so it stands out in a bad way to me.
My only other change out was buying a 20 oz package of tortellini instead of 2-9 oz packages, just because it was more economical. The recipe says that it serves 4, but we were able to get more like 6 servings out of it, with a side of garlic bread.
Tortellini with a Creamy Basil Sauce (serves 4-6)
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbs minced fresh basil (or tarragon)
2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tbs water
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 in lengths
6 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 (9 oz) packages fresh cheese tortellini
Parmesan cheese, for topping
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium high-heat and add shallots and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cook until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 additional minutes. Stir in half-and-half, basil (or tarragon), peas, and dissolved corn starch mixture. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and cover. Set aside.
Add asparagus and 1 Tbs of salt to boilling water. Cook until tender but still crisp in the center, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
Return water to a boil and add tortellini and cook until tender. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain tortellini.
Add tortellini,asparagus and bacon to the 12-inch skillet filled with sauce. Gently toss and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add reserved pasta water to desired consistency. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese grated on top.
Adapted slightly from The Best 30-Minute Recipe