Monday, March 11, 2013

Tortellini With Mushroom Sauce

Mushrooms have a bit of the "Vegemite test" about them. You either love them or you hate them. I don't think I've ever met someone who is on the fence about mushrooms. I, this should come as no surprise, love them! And I'm pretty sure I always have. I have a fuzzy memory about my childhood at best, but I remember loving them on pizza at least. Correct me if I'm wrong, Mother.

I've made this dish a few times before, but I think I've finally perfected it. It comes from Martha (no surprise), but I actually found a lot of issues with Martha's recipe. Have you ever seen something on Food Network or another cooking show and gone to look it up online only to have the online recipe be totally different from what you saw on TV? I have. Does not compute. I didn't see Martha's recipe done on TV, but I think something was lost in translation somewhere. I've made it her way, but my tweaks and additions are a lot better. Soz, M.

Tortellini With Mushroom Sauce (Serves 1)

1/2 or 1/3 lb. cheese tortellini, frozen or fresh (amount depends on how hungry you are)
2 Tsp. olive oil
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 Tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want to keep it vegetarian)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese (the good kind.. not that crap in a green can)
Small handful chopped fresh parsley

Get your mise en place all set. I watch cooking shows so I feel like I can use that term. Just prep everything and have it ready to go :)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-low heat and set a medium sized pot of water on to boil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Martha's recipe had no thyme, but mushrooms without thyme to me is like vodka with no ice or brownies with no frosting. It makes no sense. Add the thyme. You'll know what I mean when you smell it.

Once the mushrooms have softened, add the chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste and turn the heat up to medium. Adding broth in place of water (like the original recipe called for) is really a no brainer. It adds flavor and complexity and I'm not quite sure why anyone wouldn't like that. Let the broth come to a low boil and reduce by about half. This should take around 6 to 8 minutes.

All of the broth...
Half of the broth.
While you're waiting for the broth to reduce, cook the tortellini according to package directions. In my case, Trader Joe's fresh tortellini take between 6 to 8 minutes. Coincidence? I think so.

Tortellini is pretty awesome. Not only do you get pasta, but it comes filled with cheese. Or meat. But most importantly cheese. Pure comfort.

Since we've planned accordingly, the tortellini and the broth mixture will be done at the same time. Drain the tortellini and remove the pan with the mushrooms from heat. Add the tortellini, butter, and cheese to the pan with the mushrooms and stir until the butter is melted.

This will create a buttery, cheesy, creamy pot of yum. Unless I'm baking or don't feel like having peanut butter on my toast or eating out, I don't eat butter. Yes, it's amazingly delicious and makes any dish taste like restaurant quality, but it's really not that necessary and I rarely choose recipes that include butter. But sometimes... you just need the damn butter. And this is one of those times.

Once everything is melted and combined, dish it up and add the parsley. Then try your hardest not to inhale this, because it's that good.

It's like a hot cheesy mushroomy buttery hug. It's so rich and flavorful, but it's definitely still light and won't sit like a big pasta rock in your stomach. Serve this with a salad and a hunk of Italian bread (if you're not all carbed out already) and you've got a perfect winter comfort meal.

I could probably eat this every day. Cheese, mushrooms, and pasta are some of my favorite things to eat and to have them all in one is a dream meal situation for me. This is so, SO easy too. There are so few major cooking skills needed. If you can boil water, chop things with out amputating appendages, and count, you can make this.

How do you feel about mushrooms? Love or hate? Would you eat this? I ate this for dinner both Saturday and Sunday and had an amazing mushroom risotto at Park on Friday night AND I'm making my lentil soup with spinach and sausage tonight, which has a boatload of mushrooms in it. The first step is admitting you have a problem.


  1. This looks delightful! And I hate when recipes online don't match TV. The Food Network also always has written recipes that don't match the video that lives on the same page as the recipe. It drives me nuts!


    1. Yep! It's so annoying. I usually just write it down right from the TV to avoid issues!

  2. Oh this does look terribly tasty *and yes I love mushrooms. And pasta, all I want is pasta these days...cheese filled all the better, you dont need to sell me on the virtues of the tort. I find issues with recipes on the web vs TV all the time. Then again, I always change them myself, haha.

  3. Hi! I made this last night (basically tripled it) for my family. Absolutely delicious! Plenty of leftovers for lunch, too. The thyme was brilliant. Unfortunately we had no parsley, but we had everything else. Though I tripled most of the ingredients, I just used 8 oz. of vegetable broth--it was more convenient is all.
    Thanks for posting it!