Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13th - Turmeric Tortellini with Asiago in Sage Butter

I bought it at the First Ravioli Store on Commercial. Our regular haunt for fresh pasta and authentic italian food stuffs. Mmmmm this was surprisingly flavourful.... the turmeric I mean. I thought the tumeric was largely in there for the colour. The pasta was a bright yellow. It's used in quite alot of Indian recipes. It was referred to has India's Saffron in Medieval Europe. Similar to Saffron, it imparts a very bright mustardy yellow colour to food it's added too. Saffron, however, also imparts a subtle rich flavour. Turmeric, in it's well recognised dried, ground state, can be used in many foods to add the yellow colour from sweet to savour foods without interfering with the flavour. Though if you were to smell it in the jar, it does smell earthy or something akin to chewing on a pencil.

With that in mind, I thought it would go nicely with the Pistacio Pesto I made a few weeks ago that is in my freezer. MMMMM. I may have also rhymed off the suggestion of sage butter to D and he then, hitched on to that. I might have been okay with a red sauce as well, but when we try a new ravioli, I like to make sure I can taste the actual pasta and filling instead of it being lost in the sauce. That way we know whether to buy it again and again.

We went golfing yesterday after work for 'sunset', which is after 6 but before 7. At most golf courses, the price is half the daytime rate because you're not likely to do much more than half a course. You could manage to do up to 14 holes with acceptable, yet difficult light but then you'd be all the way at the other end of the course and you'd have to haul ass across the course in the dark to get to the club house and the cars. Nah. We did 10 with two friends. It was a great activity for a Monday night. Monday nights are so often wasted. You're either mourning the end of another weekend or the beginning of another work week. Which usually results in bumming around the house. I was exhausted this morning though. Truth be told, that is because of the lack of sleep I had on Saturday.

Anyhoo, I had a craving for veggie burgers and corn on the cob. I bought some corn on Commercial as well on the weekend. But in the end, we didn't get home until nine so opted for the easier, faster option of the pasta. I bargained with D that if he cooked, then we would have the sage butter over the pesto so I could wash my hair. Actually, he had an added reason for the choice too. Our sage plant is enormous at the moment. It really needed the trim. Normally you'd take maybe 10-15 thumb sized leaves but we took probably 30 or more. It still looked heavily laden after the harvest.

Turmeric Tortellini with Asiago in Sage Butter


Fresh tortellini from your favourite italian food shop
4-5 pats butter
30 fresh sage leaves
Fresh parmesan
Fresh pepper
truffle oil (optional)
chili flakes (optional)

We have fresh stuffed pasta at least 2 a month so trust me when I say we have the portions and the timing down pat.

200-215 g per person.... if you're doing a full sauce with vegetables in it, you can go on the leaner side. We had 225 g per person tonight because I made the lady get a bit more when I ordered so instead of just asking for another 20 g (1 tortellini :-P) I got 450 so I didn't waste her time :-P.

In a large pot, boil water with a good 1/2 t of salt, a good pinch.
Carefully dump the pasta in
Boil uncovered for 12-14 minutes.
This is where you have to trust me. It might seem long but unless the pasta was made just hours earlier, you won't over cook. We've tested.
-ravioli or simple pouch...tondi etc, 11-13 minutes (ie. less folds and pasta on pasta action)
-sachetti 12-14
When you're on the early end of the time window, in this case, 12 minutes, put a pan on another element with 4-5 pats of butter.
Slowly melt the butter, you can add a spash of olive oil if you want to prevent it from over heating.
When it's all flowy and the butter starts to brown slightly, add the sage leaves.
You can probably turn the heat off the pasta now but test a piece of the pasta corners first.
When the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the butter. Use a slotted spoon to lift the pasta into the pan with the butter and sage. Don't worry about shaking the pasta too much as you go. You'll want some of the pasta water.
Continue to spoon the pasta in batches into the butter and turn gently as you go so it's all well coated. Add some more pasta water if it looks too dry. It should not have any liquid on the plate but it should look luscious.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan and sprinkle with truffle oil if you have it.
It isn't necessary but ours is getting to the end of it's 'life' so we want to use it up while it still has its truffly goodness.
I also added some chili flakes in tribute to the tumeric. It was delicious. (photos pending)

Footnote on truffle oil. Not an extensive footnote by any means. Truffle oil is an oil infused with a black or white truffle. Sometimes you'll get a little hunk of truffle in the bottle. Though you can buy it in all sizes, a 'normal' person really buys a bottle the size of an airplane liquor bottle because it's very expensive and you will not go through enough to have more. You can get it at quite a decent price in italy or the duty free in Italian airports but not here.

So when you first open it, you will be struck by the potent truffle aroma. I do mean struck because truffle aroma means ripe smelly feet. It's like the hyper essence of mushrooms. You only need a few drops on your pasta or fish or meat to impart a wonderful flavour. What happens then is that because of the small bottle and the price you under use it. At first I would put more than a few drops and then feel bad because D only used 3. :-P but it tasted guuuuud. Unfortunately that truffle aroma is volatile and though oil holds aromatics quite well it will eventually fade away and you will have a tiny bottle of expensive plain oil. This will happen everytime you open it. So I would suggest you use it as you like to use it. You'll be surprised that it will still probably not be too much at a go and you won't feel like you wasted truffley goodness to the air. MMMMM our is fading now so that's why we used it with this pasta.

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