Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tortellini in Asparagus Cream Sauce

This recipe comes from my sister, who was trying to find a way to sneak a few more green vegetables into the diet (she being the domestic goddess that she is, keeping her lovely home with her adorable baby). I've edited just a little bit, and frankly, I quite like the result.

Honestly, this sauce would work just as well on any type of pasta (I think the aforementioned sister uses cheese ravioli). I know what some of you will say when you read the ingredient list and see half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Just hold on there, folks. Remember, this was an attempt to be more healthy and eat more vegetables. You can use heavy cream if you want (and I bet it would be good), but that would kind of defeat my purpose.

Tortellini in Asparagus Cream Sauce

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, hard stems discarded
  • 1/2 large, sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • A few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1.5 pounds dry tortellini
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450-degrees. Cut off the tips of asparagus and set aside. Place the asparagus, onion (sections separated), and garlic in a roasting pan. Drizzle some olive oil over them, and toss to coat well. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until slightly charred and well-cooked (the time may vary depending on the thickness of the asparagus: mine were very thin).

Bring a pot of salted water to boil on the stove for the pasta. When the vegetables are done, throw in the pasta to cook for the recommended time (usually about 10-12 minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the vegetables and saute for a few minutes, until soft. Add the half-and-half and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetable and cream mixture until very smooth (the asparagus can be kind of stringy, so make sure you've done a good job). Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste (it may take a lot).

Add in the asparagus tips and simmer for just a minute until slightly soft. Drain the pasta, and using the larger of the two pots you've used, mix the pasta and sauce together until heated. Serve with more Parmesan if needed.

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