Spinach seems to be one of those foods that either you love or you hate; there never seems to be a gray area...you rarely hear someone say, "...ah, yeah...spinach, it's OK." At least not in my family. I'm in the love it column and I'm trying really hard to put my family in the love it column too. (It's working moderately well).
This weekend I made a tortellini dish that seems to meet the approval of everyone-Creamy Tortellini with Spinach and Basil. It's tops on the list for me as a weekend dish because it is so simple to make. With four baseball games this weekend, we needed quick. There are a lot of ways to adapt it to personal taste, such as adding some type of ham, bacon or chicken, maybe some garlic or a small bit of onions.
So should it be fresh or frozen? Well that's completely up to you. I've made this dish with both, but when I'm in a hurry I prefer to use frozen....stem removal takes too much time. If you are using fresh, rinse spinach, remove stems and coarsely chop.
Creamy Tortellini with Spinach and Basil
1 (20 ounce) package cheese filled tortellini
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 (9 ounce) package frozen spinach no sauce (thawed or cooked and squeezed dry)
1 cup packed fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Cook the tortellini in 2 quarts of boiling water for 3 minutes; drain. Return tortellini to the pot, stir in the butter, pepper, salt, nutmeg and 1 cup of the half and half.
Stir in the spinach, and basil; cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining half and half and the Parmesan cheese; cook just until heated through. Transfer tortellini to a serving bowl and garnish with the toasted pine nuts.
Yield 6-8 servings