Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tortellini with Arugula Pesto

Every time I make tortellini I lament how I should do so more often. A sophisticated comfort food, these delicious cheese-filled pasta rings make for a tasty and quick dinner. Tortellini was invented in the region of Emilia-Romanga, and legend has it the pasta shapes were created to mimic the architectural features of many buildings in the city of Modena, which bear a popular turtle motif.

I was inspired to create a dish inspired by this central Italian region. I topped the tortellini with a pesto made of arugula, cannellini beans, and pistachios. I chose arugula for its light and peppery taste, a perfect spring sauce for this tasty pasta. The ancient Romans believed arugula was a powerful aphrodisiac. Arugula is low in calories and filled with fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C and K. I also included beans to add a creamy texture as well as protein and fiber and pistachios for a salty crunch. Finished with Parmagiano-Reggiano, a regional staple of Emilia-Romanga, this is a complex, tangy dish that you can whip up in only 15 minutes.

Full recipe after the jump.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 12 oz bag Barilla Three Cheese Tortellini
2 cups fresh arugula, washed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (plus more for topping)
1/2 cup cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions

2. Puree arugula, garlic, cheese, beans and pistachios in a food processor

3. Slowly add olive oil and continue to puree

4. Toss cooked pasta with pesto and top with black pepper and cheese

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