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OR  Making Do with What You’ve Got

The Man of the House had to work late last night and wasn’t able to have dinner with us.  I had planned to have chicken-fried steak, but alas, we were out of potatoes and it would be a shame to have chicken-fried steak without potatoes or the Man of the House so. . . I went pantry shopping.

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The inspiration:  Tortellini my mother gave me.  Hmm, what to do with it? 

I looked in the pantry and something stood out to me.

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In the fridge, I noticed we had some leftover zucchini.  Now we’re getting somewhere. 

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I put some water on to boil for the tortellini. 

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Next, I grabbed three cloves of garlic and gave them a quick chop.

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Hey, do you know how to do this?  It’s really simple and always makes me feel like Super Cook Lady.  Just place the flat side of your knife on top of the garlic.  I always make sure to really angle the blade downward (and of course I hold the knife handle but my right hand way busy holding a camera when this picture was taken).  Then, just hit it carefully but firmly with the heel of your hand.  No Fear! Being scared means you may not sufficiently smash it and then you have to try again. 

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Once the garlic is smashed, it peels SO much easier and then you can chop it. 

Got my skillet heated up with a little EVOO (oops, sorry, watched too much you-know-who!) Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  And dropped that garlic in.  Don’t let your heat get too high or the garlic will brown.  Brown garlic is bitter and nasty.

When I realized my garlic was on the verge of becoming bitter and nasty, I poured in the tomatoes.  I bought the kind with oregano and whatever in it because I knew I’d probably use it for something like this and I love those Italian flavors.

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At that point, my water was boiling so I added a little salt and my tortellinis.  I let them boil for about 12-15 minutes.

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(Weeeeee!  Tortellini Action Shot!)

Then I smelled my “sauce”.  It needed something. . .A-HA!

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Yes, I know you’re supposed to use white wine that you would actually drink and this is intentionally salted so as to be undrinkable.  Don’t judge me because I use cooking wine. 

So I poured some in, I’m guessing half a cup.  And I smelled again. . .

This would be better with some parsley.  Is there any in the garden?  

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Well yes, but not nearly enough.  I only had about 1/2 tablespoon.   If I had more, I’d use about 2 tablespoons.  

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I decided the zucchini needed a rough chop.  And I added it.  Remember, this was already cooked so it just needed to heat through.

Some fresh ground pepper, a few shakes of oregano, Oh, the tortellini!

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Drained it and added it.  Stirred it all up.  And topped with shredded parmesan.

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The finished product.

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Almost.  I put some crushed red pepper on mine.  (I keep the packets that come with pizza delivery. You never know when you might need it on your pasta or something.)

The verdict?

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Thumbs up.

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This one tried to say thumbs up, but she couldn’t stop eating it.

Lady’s Tortellini and Zucchini Recipe

So, really, this is a lesson in keeping good ingredients on hand.