Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Nostalgia and Cooking

I think I've mentioned this before... but when I was a kid, I was one of those awful children who refused to eat vegetables.

I would tolerate the following: cooked broccoli and carrots. Occasionally cooked cauliflower.

This is probably one of the reasons my Mum was so fond of the recipe I'm about to post today. It originally comes from the 1995 Milk Calendar, which, incidentally, includes another of my favourite childhood recipes: a smoothie consisting entirely of milk, ice and orange juice concentrate.

Ah, the '90s. It even looks like a '90s style casserole, doesn't it?

Whatever, it was still delicious, though next time I'm going to pep it up with some more garlic and whole tomatoes.

This meal was capped off by my watching PBS show the Les Misèrables's 25th Anniversary Special. Les Mis could have been the soundtrack to '93/'94. I caught myself having flashbacks to my bad 15 year old self.

Alright. I was nerdy and bookish and not at all bad. At least not in the causing trouble outside the house sense.

My parents and brother probably have a different opinion about this.

Tortellini Casserole

(adapted from Milk Calendar 1995)


3 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup puréed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp each dried thyme, basil and oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
350g - 1 lb (500g) tortellini (meat or cheese)
1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into chunks
1½ cups  grated marble cheese
½ cup  grated Parmesan cheese


Have I ever shown you how I write directions down for myself?

Not particularly useful for those of you who live outside my head!

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Over medium heat, melt butter in large, oven proof pot (this will save you dirtying a casserole dish). Sauté onion until translucent, then add in garlic. Sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Do NOT let the butter brown. Stir in flour and let cook for 3 minutes, until well incorporated with fat.

3. Whisk in milk slowly, until you have a paste. Continuing whisking and add strained tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, basil, salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. If using fresh tortellini, pour into pot, cook for one minute and then add broccoli. Cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until broccoli is bright green and tender crisp. Drain tortellini and broccoli and toss with sauce.

5. Stir marble cheese into sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan over top.

6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve hot with a green salad and garlic bread.

Feel free to jazz up this recipe with whatever pleases you most - sundried tomatoes would be an excellent touch, I think. It's much better suited to kids' palates than adults!

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