Creamy Baked Tortelloni and the perfect wine
Creamy Baked Tortelloni with Salad & Marinated Shallots: There is nothing better than a pillowy tortelloni cooked in the tasteful sauce, which is more of a pink sauce similar to vodka sauce, minus the vodka. This cooking technique, in addition to the cream cheese, adds a velvety texture to the pasta dish. Once the casserole is assembled and topped with fresh mozzarella, you place it in the oven and bake then broil to golden tender perfection. The tender baby spinach makes for a nice side salad.
Wines to go with red or tomato-based pasta sauces
There are two types of tomato based pasta sauces one that includes fresh tomato with basil, the other is a Cooked tomato sauces such as napoletana or marinara
For a fresh tomato basil based sauces : crisp dry whites such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio are the best pairing.
A 2013 Alois Lageder “Porer” Pinot Grigio, from Alto Adige, Italy; has a hint of oak. Is rich and creamy and full-bodied, with intense floral aromas and powerful flavors of pears and minerals. It can be aged three or four years and will cost you around $25.
Cooked tomato sauces such as napoletana or marinara is paired with a nice Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a light Sicilian red.
If I was having a dinner party I would buy a nice Fondo Antico I Versi Bianco 2010. This lush, fruity blend of Grecanico, Inzolia and Grillo has zesty citrus aromas that mingle with salty seabreeze ones. It can be described as a creamy and rich, and weighty and sumptuous as a Chardonnay. It should cost you only $10.
A Meat based sauce like bolognese, spaghetti with meatballs, or sausage-based sauces, is a logical partner for Sicilian and Puglian reds, Sangiovese, Rosso di Montalcino and inexpensive Barberas. But what I find best pairs is a nice Zinfandel.
The Bianchi 2013 Zinfandel – $28 zin is a robust, ruby-red wine, with spicy layers of cherry, raspberry and cinnamon flavors. It ends with a wonderful velvety vanilla clove finish. It will pair well with pork, turkey or lamb, especially with a sweet glaze.
Creamy Baked Tortelloni with Salad & Marinated Shallots
- 3 oz shallot
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella
- 2½ oz tomato paste
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 pkg cheese tortelloni
- 2½ oz peas
- 1 head Boston lettuce
- kosher salt & ground pepper
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- Prep ingredients: Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in the top and center positions. Lightly oil a medium baking dish. Halve shallot, then peel and thinly slice lengthwise. Reserve ⅛ cup sliced shallots for salad, then finely chop ¼ cup shallots. Grate mozzarella on large holes of box grater.
- Start sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add chopped shallots and cook, stirring, until golden, 1–2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cream cheese; break up using the back of a spoon, and cook until cream cheese has softened, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute.
- Finish sauce: Whisk in 1¼ cups water and bring to a boil over high and cook, about 1 minute. Season sauce with ¾ teaspoon salt and a few grinds pepper. Remove from heat.
- Bake tortelloni: Place tortelloni and peas in prepared baking dish and top with sauce. Shake to distribute sauce and top with mozzarella. Cover baking dish with foil, then bake on the center oven rack until tortelloni begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Uncover, and continue to bake until sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes.
- Make dressing: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon vinegar with 2 tablespoons oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sliced shallot to dressing and allow to marinate while tortelloni bakes. Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces.
- Broil tortelloni & serve: Remove tortelloni from oven and preheat broiler. Broil on top oven rack until cheese is golden-brown and bubbly, about 30 seconds (watch closely as broilers vary). Add lettuce to dressing and toss to coat. Serve baked tortelloni with salad alongside. Enjoy!
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