I’m really loving cooking vegetarian on Mondays.  The challenge of eating meat-free one day a week, has me researching tasty entrees I probably wouldn’t try usually.  This tortellini dish literally blew us away.  I had my vegetarian friend over for dinner and she was also impressed.

I must say, the Georgia Olive Farms Olive Oil really made this dish.  It melded beautifully with the sharp bite of fresh garlic, the herbed pasta and the creamy goat cheese.  This recipe should probably serve four, but Jim and I ate 3/4 of it between the two of us. The only thing that would have made it any better, would be a fresh loaf of french bread to sop up the delicious sauce left at the bottom of the bowl.

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Isn’t that olive oil beautiful?

Fresh Tortellini with Asparagus, Peas & Parsley

printable recipe

  • salt
  • 1/3 cup Georgia Olive Farms Olive Oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 lb. fresh cheese tortellini (I used herbed cheese from the Farmer’s Market)
  • 1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed of tough, woody stems, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (leave the tips whole)
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 2 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
  • black pepper
  • parmesan cheese, grated

In a covered pot, bring well-salted water to a boil over high heat. In a large pasta serving bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook the tortellini, asparagus, and peas in the boiling water until the tortellini is al dente, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and vegetables and toss with the garlic-oil mixture. Add the pine nuts, mint, and goat cheese and stir until the cheese melts into a sauce, adding cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta. Season to taste with salt, pepper and parmesan and serve.

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This bowl was not full for long.

I’ve never made shepherd’s pie before, but I keep seeing recipes for it pop up as a yummy winter dish.  So, on this Sunday evening I thought I’d give it a try (tweaking an Emeril recipe) and it was better than I anticipated (Jim ate three servings!)

Shepherd’s Pie:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • handful of cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I almost always double the garlic in recipes, this originally called for 2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup beef broth (I throw water and beef bullion together, $ saver)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of corn
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

 Heat olive oil and butter in a pot.  Add onion through oregano and sauté on low for about 10 minutes.  Add minced garlic after 9 minutes have passed.  Once 10 minutes are up, add tomato paste and cook on low for another 8 minutes.  (Make sure you check every few minutes to keep from burning.)  Toss in ground beef through pepper and cook until meat is no longer pink – about 5 minutes. 

Veggies and meat w/ tomato paste (and a fun gadget)

Layer a baking dish with canned corn, then add meat/veggie mixture.  Top with Mashed Potatoes, sprinkle with parm and bake for 40 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

 Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled quartered
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 Put potatoes in a pot and add water, filling to about an inch above potatoes.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt to water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat milk and butter.  Once butter has melted, turn off heat and cover to keep warm (before adding to potatoes). Drain potatoes, put back in pot, add milk and butter concoction, parsley, pepper and remaining salt.  Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.

Everything layered and ready to go in the oven

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