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.

So…my inspiration for this dish was the May 2010 cover of Bon Appetit.  I tweaked the recipe a bit to my liking, so I’m listing the original recipe below, as well as my variations — so you can make it how you like it.  Afterall, isn’t cooking really all about what explodes on YOUR tastebuds?  Oh, and if you haven’t gotten into the  Stieg Larsson series.  You should. 

Fettuccine with Peas, Roasted Broccoli & Pancetta 

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces fettuccine or penne (I used whole wheat fettuccine)
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces (I subbed a head of broccoli, which I roasted with a little EVOO before adding to the dish)
  • 2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or frozen peas (do not thaw)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts (I didn’t have green onions in the house, so I used half a yellow onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving (I used about a cup)
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (I used about a cup here, as well, to make it saucier)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided (I used dried)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided (I used dried)

Preparation 

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. 

Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese. 

My twist on Bon Appetit's pasta

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