Monday, August 29, 2011

Turkey Marsala and Cheese Tortellini with Sage-Walnut Butter

The first real post!

So I made this yesterday and then came up with the idea to start this blog today. Partially because I was so psyched about how delicious everything turned out to be. It's never easy cooking a whole meal at once. I have to open up whole Word documents, paste all the recipes inside, and mutter to myself a whole bunch as I read the directions over and over again. You know it's serious when I've got a Word document going on.

Yesterday I had some hot waitressing money burning a hole in my pocket (at work I don't get real pockets. Just aprons and skorts. The skort is awful. It is the bane of my thighs' existence. Anyway!), so I thought, "Why don't I throw together a meal for myself and my roommates?" It's always a good feeling to share, although I have been known to make enchiladas for myself because I had time to kill, the recipe was taunting me, and no one else was around.

The meal ended up as such: Turkey Marsala, cheese tortellini with a sage-walnut butter, and summer peach cake for dessert (I'll save the cake for another post. This title is already so long.)

I started off by throwing two packages of cheese tortellini into the ol' pot of boiling salted water.

Here's where my little error comes in. If I could explain why this happened, I so would to help any readers out...but to be honest, I don't think you should worry. There's a certain category of mistakes I make that fall under "Only things I do." Like the time I accidentally drove on the levee and a bunch of cattle angrily stalked me, lowing and stomping all the while. Or when I thought I'd lost $97 and it ended up being in my pocket. These things just happen.

So this time: I put balsamic vinegar, honey and bay leaf in a small saucepan over medium heat. My boyfriend was already complaining about the overpowering smell--while I stoically dealt with it--when without coming close to overshooting the 4-5 min. time limit, I managed to burn the whole lot. Burnt balsamic syrup will overpower the heck out of you. We just decided to toss it, rather than waste time scrubbing the pan and starting over, and ultimately we just subbed balsamic vinaigrette. And it still tasted delicious. I have become very friendly with substitutes. Not in the way that a high school girl with loose morals and a sagging GPA does, but in the way a beginning-cook with a clumsy side and a tendency to misread recipes gets to know her various saviors.

That snafu aside: I melted 6 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, added a cup of walnuts and the sage leaves, and let the walnuts toast. Suuuuch a good smell. Much better than sizzling balsamic syrup, you have no idea. After three minutes, I added a cup of water from the boiling tortellini. Not easy to fetch when tortellini is boiling all about.

As the butter reduced by half, I strained the tortellini (reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water) then added it to the skillet. Toss the tortellini in the butter. Here's where you're supposed to add the cooking water as needed. I, of course, forgot I'd even reserved it. It just sat by my sink while I tossed the tortellini willy-nilly with a 6 oz. pkg of Parmesan.

Tortellini done!

Now I started the Turkey Marsala during this process. About the time the tortellini butter was reducing. I chopped up a small red onion and cooked it up in my large bottle of olive oil, which is sadly depleting. Though I actually don't mind, because the excitement of getting a new special bottle of olive oil will make up for the loss, I think.

Once the onion started to turn golden and the aroma was engulfing me (here is where I recommend actually burning the balsamic syrup like I did earlier, because the scent of sweet relief enhances anything, I believe. Just like things taste better when they're free or you cooked them yourself! It's science. I am a freelance scientist at times.), I added the bag of baby spinach. As the spinach was wilting, my boyfriend patted the turkey cutlets dry and seasoned them up for me. He often reminds me that I need to cook things all the way through, lest I poison people. I get impatient and become colorblind to meat-pinkness. This, among other reasons, is why I value him.

I slid the spinach and onions out onto my readied plates, then added the turkey cutlets. Once they'd been seared well, Andy flipped up the better-done-side and I placed a half-slice of proscuitto and a slice of Fontina atop each cutlet. Then we covered the skillet and let them finish for a minute.

The cutlets were nestled into spinach beds. Then I poured a little Marsala into the skillet, let it reduce while I scraped up those pesky brown bits you're always advised to scrape up, and then boom, boom, was Turkey Marsala and cheese tortellini with sage-walnut butter time. A merry, merry time for all.

The recipes:

Turkey Marsala (via Epicurious):

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 oz baby spinach
4 turkey cutlets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 slices prosciutto (1 oz), halved crosswise
2 oz Italian Fontina, thinly sliced
1/2 c sweet Marsala wine

Tortellini with Sage-Walnut Butter (via Food Network)(they used ravioli):

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 9-ounce packages refrigerated cheese ravioli
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

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