If that title wasn’t enough of a mouthful this dish is sure to be. This is definitely a dish best made over several days and what’s fun is it’s a great way to use the rind on parmesan.
So to adequately tell the story of this dish I have to do some setup. Part of my meal planning is to go through my calendar and put in what we’re going to have for our lunches and dinners each week for a month. To do this I go to my LONG list of recipe titles that sounded good to me. (This is a list I keep going. Every time I get a new cookbook or a new issue of a cooking magazine I jot down the recipe title.) So I had this entry for “Cheese Tortellini and Butternut Squash”. I was excited about making this so when the week finally came I hunted down the recipe only to discover it called for store bought tortellini and to cook the squash in the stock. Well, as I like to say, “this didn’t trill me at all”.
Then hunt began for a tortellini I could make from scratch. I found a lot of recipes but none of them seemed to catch my interest. Then I headed over to my favorite place for kitchen how-to’s and inspiration thekitchn.com and I found Three-Cheese Tortellini in Parmesan Broth. Now that screams inspiration!
When reading through their article and recipe I saw it called for stock. It gave the option for chicken or vegetable and it even said preferably homemade! Now, it’s speaking my language! (I will soon be posting an article about the importance of homemade stock. Get excited!) Knowing what I know now about stock, I knew this needed to be vegetable stock. I didn’t want there to be anything detracting from the final parmesan flavor this stock would have. Of course I was out of vegetable stock so this meant making a fresh batch.
So at this point of thinking about my original desire for Cheese Tortellini with Butternut Squash I have found a recipe for the tortellini, for the parmesan broth, and now it was off to think about how I wanted the butternut squash to be prepared.
I should tell you also that I don’t like soft mushy things usually. I have nothing against squash but normally is this mushy mass that doesn’t go down well for me. This got me thinking about the texture. What if the squash was in little cubes? OK, I like that idea. Hmm, can they have a firm texture but still be cooked through? Hey! What about those little potatoes you get with some breakfast. You know, the skillet fried potatoes! I think I am on to something…
That led me to googling around and that’s when I came across Pan-seared Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Parmigiano Shards and of corse it was on thekitchn.com.
The last component was from the original recipe for Cuisine at Home they garnished the dish with crispy bits of fried sage and crispy prosciutto. This I loved and added to my final dish.
So there you have it. I started off with making my vegetable stock. Then I strained out the solids and flavored it with the parmesan rind. I made that in advance along with cubing up the butternut squash. Then I made my pasta, rolled it out, and used a 3-inch circle cutter. Then added my dollop of a blend of three cheeses and parsley and then shaped them. In a small pot of boiling water I cooked them in small batches portioning them out for dinner for the rest of the week. I re-warmed my parmesan stock and ladled that into my containers. I set all that aside and then cooked up the prosciutto and sage and let them drain. I then made the squash and spooned it into the individual containers.
For the final plating I made a ring of squash and in the center I stood my tortellini. I then ladled my stock over it all. Then topped with my fried sage and prosciutto and a light garnish of fresh graded parmesan. The result of all this work? Delish! Not only that but what took me maybe a total of 3 hours in the kitchen (most of that was shaping my tortellini) I have dinner for the entire week made.