One Ingredient, Three Ways: Pasta

Whoa, apparently The Practical Cook is not the only one who is a fan of dumplings. Which is a nice transition to today’s topic, the dumpling of a different stripe, tortellini. Though the Trader Joe’s cheese tortellini of which I am so fond is not the only featured pasta. For this Sunday dinner, I needed back-up. With only two packages of cheese tortellini, and a pack of wild vegetarians descending fast, what to do?

One Ingredient, Three Ways:

1. Plain Cheese Tortellini. Let’s face it, they are out there. Though The Practical Cooks Junior are adventurous (they ate the majority of the 4 orders of dumplings from yesterday’s Chirba Chirba review), they are a rare breed in their age group. Good Parmesan and a toss of olive oil, and I sigh and avert my eyes.

Plain Cheese Tortellini from Trader Joe's (Sigh)

Plain Cheese Tortellini from Trader Joe's (Sigh)

2. Red Sauce on Cheese Tortellini. In this case, we tried a jarred puttanesca (dirty). It was a big hit with the adults, the two Junior tasters felt it was a bit spicy, though they liked it okay.

Bubble Bubble Pasta Pot, Cheese Tortellini with Puttanesca Sauce

Bubble Bubble Pasta Pot, Cheese Tortellini with Puttanesca Sauce

3. Pesto on Wagon Wheels with Diced Tomatoes. This was a surprise hit, based on the homemade pesto I featured before. When you’re pressed for time, nothing is better than opening the freezer, dropping  a few pesto cubes into hot, drained pasta, grating some fresh Parmesan on it, topping with tomatoes, and serving.

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes

We led with a salad, so actual vegetables were consumed in this meal. Everyone was permitted to get up and serve themselves whatever they liked, without comment, until that flavor ran out. People like options, it makes the everyday more interesting. This is an effortless meal, perfect for a crowd, and satisfying for people of all ages and persuasions. Mix it up with roasted garlicky broccoli to toss in, or Italian sausage for the meat lovers. Point being, with some planning, it’s easy to serve meals within a meal.

The Joy of Self-Service: Pasta Bar

The Joy of Self-Service: Pasta Bar

Best compliment of the night was my friend and budding foodie telling me what she liked and didn’t like about each one. This is huge. She was the queen of the plain buttered pasta before. Surprisingly, she liked the pesto pasta the best.

Are you feeding a plain pasta crowd? How do you manage it without being a short-order cook? Post your comments and ideas here, or Tweet.

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Stay tuned for Beef: It’s What’s in the Freezer.



Filed under One Ingredient Three Ways

2 responses to “One Ingredient, Three Ways: Pasta

  1. Well this would be an easy one for me. I have never met a pasta I didn’t love. Off to grab your pesto recipe!

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