Tortellini and the three sauces
At the grocery store the other day, I decided on an impulse to buy one of those clear plastic trays of fresh-ish pasta, specifically a chicken-prosciutto tortellini. I was thinking it might be a way to make use of the jar of light alfredo sauce I picked up the previous week (which I used to make Italian sausage fettucine alfredo, because I haven’t had alfredo sauce in a while and wanted a change of pace). But when I was about to start cooking it, I decided that I should instead just toss it in olive oil and grated parmesan, so the flavor of the tortellini wouldn’t be covered by a heavy sauce. I had that alongside broccoli cuts, and I actually found it a little bland; I even ended up mixing the tortellini and broccoli together to make it a little more interesting.
Now, there were 30 tortellini in the package, enough for three equal servings, so I had enough leftovers for two more meals. I was going to put alfredo on the second serving yesterday, but I ended up going over to the university library to do some writing, and afterward I discovered there was a new pizza-by-the-slice concession in the student union, so my lunch was a slice of vegetarian pizza. After that, I didn’t want to have another cheese/dairy-heavy meal in the same day, so for dinner I had the second serving of tortellini with red sauce (and more parmesan), with baby lima beans as a side dish. That was better, but still just okay.
So today I finally had the last serving with alfredo sauce, and I also mixed in some peas and freshly ground black pepper, and served along with a slice of garlic toast. And it was excellent. The taste of the tortellini filling wasn’t overwhelmed by the sauce, but instead they complemented each other fairly well. And the peas were a very good idea.
I know in theory that different kinds of pasta are designed with different sauces in mind — their shapes are meant to hold onto different types and thicknesses of sauce — but I’ve never really explored how they go together, so it’s just been trial and error — or, more usually, just using whatever I happened to have on hand. But my experiments with the tortellini were a good illustration of how different sauces fit with different foods. And it’s good that I saved the best combination for last.