Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Hell Yeah!" Tortellini

My sister, Reen, told me about a recipe that she found in a magazine. Being the Queen of Substitutions, she didn't make it exactly as written. She substituted frozen spinach for bell peppers, and added onions (which weren't originally part of the recipe). When I made it for my weekly Project Runway get together, I didn't exactly stick to the recipe either. I chose to go with the peppers instead of the spinach and to keep the onion. Oh, and I added a couple other things too. So basically, it's a whole new dish! I asked everyone if they liked it, and they gave me a resounding "Hell Yeah!" So here it is, Ladies and Gentleman.
Hell Yeah Tortellini!

2 tbs olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
1 large onion, cut into strips
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
a few shakes crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
a few glugs of white wine
1 tbs granulated chicken bouillon
a few shakes of Italian seasoning
1 pound cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, bell peppers, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
3. Add the broth, wine, bouillon, Italian seasoning, and tortellini. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tortellini are cooked through and most of the broth is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Stir in the parsley and some Parmesan cheese. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with a little more Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Whenever I cook eggplant, I always like to salt it first, to get rid of the bitter juices. Just place slices of eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let stand a minimum of 30 minutes so that the bitter liquid drains out. Give it super quick rinse under running water (to get rid of the excess salt) and pat dry with paper towels. Then go ahead and chop it up into chunks. It really makes all the difference in the world!

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