If you’re lucky enough to live in places where spring vegetables were planted weeks ago, you could already have a crop of spinach or green onions or asparagus. Our past-frost date in Colorado Springs hasn’t yet arrived; it’s June 1 – June 10. For the first time, I’ve snuck a few things in early, but am nightly ready to rush out to bring pots in or run into the yard like a crazy woman throwing blankets over newly-planted beds. (We have upcoming lows of 32 F this week, for instance.)
As summer wanes –– it was 50 degrees F this morning when I got up — the vegetables come in huge, lovely fragrant warm piles and a fresh, toothsome pasta salad feels perfect for supper in the lingering heat. No muss, no fuss, with fresh pasta that cooks in just two minutes; dinner is on the table faster than you can make the basil vinaigrette (thanks to David Lebovitz–scroll down for more) that simply makes this meal. Continue reading
The famous Italian dish, Tortellini en brodo, is a beautiful, well-known holiday pasta and broth soup upon which my simplified, shredded-beef American version is based. I truly didn’t have this dish in mind, I just happened to have a pot roast, a bunch of tortellini, and a desire for something besides the things I usually make with pot roast on a cold snowy day: pot roast and vegetables, beef-vegetable soup, beef-barley soup, beef burgundy, and so on.
If you’d like to make the real Tortellini en brodo, visit a blog that has the directions in English; many are in Italian! Here’s a good home-made blogger’s version (Stefan’s Gourmet Blog) that is totally from scratch, including the meat filling for the tortellini, and looks luscious. If you’d rather have a little video action and a Mario Batali recipe, here’s that link. The simplest shortcut recipe is here. In other words, you’re not cooking meat for broth, bones for stock, or making homemade pasta and filling in my soup, but you are cooking a pot roast! And while my ingredients’ list isn’t short, the method is simple and gives you time for other things.
Because while writing the recipe, I realized it sounds long and ponderous, you can read — and cook from, if you like — the basic method, or the short version:
Brown a well-seasoned pot roast with carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and fennel and cook until tender — 2 – 2 1/2 hours — in wine, tomatoes, and broth (a little more than 3 quarts liquid) with bay leaf, dried oregano, and basil. Shred the beef, chop or puree the cooked vegetables, and cook the pasta and peas in the broth while you do that. Stir it all together, add a small handful of fresh basil and garnish in bowls with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
While the beef cooks, a couple of hours, you have time to work on a project, read a good book, watch a movie, or have coffee with a friend. If you’d like to cook this in the slow cooker, I think you would have some success, though I haven’t tried it. A link for similar recipe made in a slow cooker (tortellini is added the last twenty minutes) is here. Buon appetite! Continue reading