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Tortellini with Sauteed Shiitakes

 Several folks have asked for my recipe for last night's dinner. I don't tend to think in a structured, recipe-friendly kind of way, but here's my best shot:

Ingredients (all from Trader Joe's)

  • 3 packages of spinach tortellini
  • 2 containers shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Pre-diced garlic from the jar, like a lazy person
  • Splash of cooking sherry (maybe they don't have this at Trader Joe's? Anyways Two Buck Chuck would work just fine)
  • Soffrito (see image below)
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bag wild arugula 
Trader Joe's Italian Style Soffrito Seasoning Blend.
I love this stuff, it's instant classiness for pasta.


  1. Melt a generous pat of butter at medium heat, and saute the minced shallots for a few minutes.
  2. When they start to brown, add a couple tbsp Soffrito to the hot pan, and drizzle some olive oil over if it looks dry.
  3. Add quite a lot of garlic after a minute and stir for thirty seconds, then splash in a little cooking sherry/white wine.
  4. Add mushrooms and toss to coat, saute until well cooked.
  5. Meanwhile, boil a few quarts of generously salted water, and cook the tortellini for about five minutes.
  6. Splash a half cup of pasta water into the mushrooms, then drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and melt and toss 2 tbsp butter.
  7. Reserve ⅓ of the pasta for your foolish children who don't yet love mushrooms, mix the rest in the deglazed mushroom pan.
  8. Serve on a bed of a generous handful of arugula, sprinkle Parmesan to taste.

So the idea for this meal came from Lucas (age nine): at a sleepover a few weeks ago his host family's traditional Saturday night meal was spinach tortellini with feta cheese crumbles over the top ("the kind of feta cheese where it's in the little box full of water, and after you pour some of the water out you break off some of the cheese and crumble it over the pastas. And you wash the cheese off your fingers after dinner."), and he was fired up to try and replicate it for our family. Great, another quick low energy family meal in the repertoire? Thank you!

The whole mushrooms part was just me thinking that I wanted a little more to the meal than crumbled feta and tortellini, and I'm pleased as heck with how it turned out. Good luck making it your own way if you decide to give it a try!


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