Sunday, 4 September 2011

10-minute tortelloni with smoked salmon and rocket

I don't eat a lot of pasta but I do buy fresh tortelloni and ravioli. They are the only sort worth buying fresh because, frankly, it's not worth making your own stuffed pasta when there's only one of you and fresh tagliatelle etc go from raw to mush very quickly during cooking and it's hard to catch them at the al dente stage. I keep dried lasagne sheets and fusilli in my larder and that's the lot. Stuffed fresh pasta also freezes very well. Sainsbury's is also the only supermarket that does one-person portions of stuffed pasta in both meat and veggie varieties - yay! Whenever I do an online grocery shop, I always order two or three packs.

So, I cheat on the pasta but I always make my own sauces. For tomato-based sauces, I cook a big panful then freeze portions - more on that another time. Tonight, I made a very simple sauce that also used up lots of leftovers in my fridge.

What you need: 
Pack of tortelloni
Half a bag of rocket (or two fistfuls if you bought it loose)
About 70g smoked salmon, cut into strips
Crème fraîche
Black pepper, to taste

What to do:
Put a big pan of water on to boil, add a pinch of sea salt then when the water reaches a vigorous rolling boil, throw in your tortelloni - mine was stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Boil for around 5 minutes, then drain and return to the hot pan. Add a very generous tablespoonful of half-fat crème fraîche, the rocket and the smoked salmon. Grind some black pepper over it then stir everything through gently. The rocket should wilt in the heat to about a half its volume. Tip into a bowl and eat. I had a small salad on the side too, which meant I had three, possibly even four, of my five a day in one meal and barely noticed it.

Fridge staples: 
Crème fraîche: I always keep a pot of this in my fridge as it's so useful. The full-fat variety is calorie-laden but half-fat crème fraîche still gives the flavour and mouth feel. It's a great standby for lots of recipes that require cream of some sort. If you don't want to use crème fraîche then try 0%-fat Greek yoghurt (Total does a really good one), which still has a good, thick, creamy texture.

Rocket: I buy the ready-washed bags but I recommend giving it a quick rinse in a colander anyway. You can use it as a salad, for the green stuff in a sandwich or in hot dishes as an extra veg portion.

Smoked salmon: I love smoked salmon but it can be expensive. It's less of a pricey treat if you look out for 3-for-2 or 3 for £10 offers in the supermarkets - it freezes well so you can chuck the extra packs straight in the freezer and defrost in the fridge when you need (or want) them. A 120g pack of supermarket own brand normally costs around £4 so three for a tenner is good value. Half the pack is enough for this pasta recipe. Use the rest for a lunchtime sandwich or for a Sunday brunch with scrambled eggs (once the pack is opened it will keep for up to a week if you seal it carefully).