Sunday, 19 October 2008

Royal Foodie Joust - Holiday Tortellini Alfredo


Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
It is time, once again, for the Royal Foodie Joust.
The tongue in cheek competition between worthy foodie opponents featuring not one but three secret ingredients.
The last month's winner was a very tasty Creamy Gorgonzola Fennel and Pear Tart by Susan of Stickygooeycreamychewy. Susan had the honour of choosing the next three secret ingredients and chose - acorn squash, orange, and sage. Difficult, yes. But not impossible.

Allez Cuisine!

Holiday Tortellini Alfredo

1 acorn squash - split, seeds removed and put aside.
Rub squash with a little olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 until tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove flesh with a fork and let cool until handlable.

Meanwhile, remove as much pulp as possible from the seeds and dry between paper towel sheets. Season with a little olive oil, toss and spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until dark golden brown, be careful not to burn them. Put aside for garnish.

For tortellini - use fresh, homemade pasta or wonton wrappers.

Filling
In a medium/large bowl place -
cooked squash
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh sage
zest of one orange
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste - I like lots of black pepper

In a pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil. Saute 2 minced shallots until they start to soften, add 2 minced cloves of garlic, season with salt and pepper and saute until just soft - another minute or two. Remove from heat and add to filling. (we will do this again for the sauce)


Make tortellinis - here is a video if you have never shaped them before. (they take a little while)
Mine are a little bigger than hers but the technique is the same. (Except I use my thumb, not my baby finger)
I do find that adding some cornstarch to the water to seal the tortellinis gives them a better seal.
Put filled and shaped tortellinis aside.

Start up the pasta pot - you want a generous amount of boiling, salted water ready when your sauce is ready.

Holiday Alfredo Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 minced shallots
2 minced garlic cloves
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in warm water

Heat olive oil in a pot. Add shallots, saute until soft. Add garlic, saute another minute of two. Add Cointreau, let reduce to 2 tbsp. Add butter, let melt through. Add chicken broth, Parmesan cheese and cream, whisking gently. Let sauce cook gently together until it starts to thicken.

Place tortellinis in the boiling, salted water.

They will not take long at all to cook. When they rise to the top, test one. When they are just about al dente, add them and the drained cranberries to the sauce. Let cook together, stirring gently, until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed some of the sauce. Scoop into pasta bowls and garnish. Serve hot.


Garnish
More Parmesan cheese
Toasted acorn squash seeds
Black pepper
and a sprig of sage for decoration.

*A note about the garnish - I really liked the roasted acorn squash seeds but hubby found them too woody and chewy. Come to think of it, I am usually the one who eats them whenever I make them. A softer substitute would be pine nuts.

The verdict - Very tasty indeed.