Easy Entertaining: Pasta Night!
A delicious and dynamite trio for dinner parties is tortellini, tomato and basil. I love this combo for simple and special entertaining - it’s a crowd favorite in any season for any reason. With the recipe below, you can prepare and serve 6 guests for dinner, in under an hour on even the tightest budget! If you are so inclined, grill up some steak or chicken to accompany the tortellini, but with fresh bread and a nice wine, it’s perfect alone. A crisp Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc will pair well with the pesto. Finish with sorbetto in a fruit flavor like blood orange, lemon or raspberry. These are a light and refreshing end to a pasta meal. Serve in pretty pedestal bowls with a sprig of mint, biscotti and coffee.
To create a special table in just a few minutes, use white dishes and a white tablecloth, then create a rustic centerpiece with the extra ingredients from your main course. Pile up cherry tomatoes and basil in a pretty bowl or on a platter in the center of the table to add a burst of color. You can also, put basil in a vase and set it on a plate surrounded by the extra cherry tomatoes. Add a few candles and dim your lights. Turn up the music, open the wine and dine! You will have set the stage for a meal and a night that you and your guests will enjoy!
Red, White and Green Tortellini
Preparation Time: 15 min., Cooking Time: 25 min., Serves 6
2 packages (9 ounces each) refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove, crushed with garlic press
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1. Prepare tortellini according to label directions.
2. Drain tortellini, and reserve 1/2-cup pasta cooking water.
3. Return tortellini to saucepot.
4. In blender, combine basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and the reserved pasta cooking water and blend until mixture is smooth,
5. Add mixture to tortellini; toss until evenly mixed.
6. Top with tomatoes and toss gently.
7. Sprinkle generously with shaved Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.