When I first moved into my apartment, I was so scared. It wasn't living on my own or having to be responsible for my own property that frightened me -- it was cooking that terrified me. Yes, I can cook frozen pizza or a Lean Cuisine meal and call it a day, but if I wanted to walk the path of adulthood one of the big tasks I wanted to accomplish was learning how to cook. Who knows, one day I could be cooking for my husband or family.
I had friends growing up in school who said that their parents didn't know the first thing about making homemade meals and spaghetti was about all they could do. I was fortunate enough to have practically a chef in my family -- seriously my mom can make a brick taste good, so I never knew how tough cooking could be. Now, I sympathize with the families who eat simple meals almost always. After all that's how I get by each night at dinner -- simple meals that I turn into something delish and satisfying.
This meal is so simple and so incredible delicious I could eat it every night. I sometimes will make this with rigatoni, but I love the heartiness of tortellini. You only need a few ingredients to make this insanely simple dish and only about 10 minutes of your time. Another thing I like about this dish is that there are absolutely no measurements. You can make it exactly how you want it.
-Oven proof dish
-Clove of Garlic
Start by boiling the tortellini. One of the things I love about tortellini is that even though it's really filling, it's extremely simple and you can keep it in your freezer for as long as you like. It's one of those things I always have in my freezer in case I forget to pull out a chicken breast or I just need something warm to tie me over. If I ever have friends over and they want dinner, I will make this dish because it's easy and inexpensive to make.
When you place frozen tortellini in a pot of water, naturally it will sink. You can tell the tortellini is ready once all of the noodles are floating in the water. Make sure not to boil the water to avoid the noodles coming undone and letting the cheese fall out. Once all of the tortellini is boiled through, strain it and add some salt to taste. I think store-bought items are often times really bland so take advantage of that and add your own flavoring. Oregano, basil, and garlic all taste great with this dish and bring out some of it's flavor.
To the pasta, I add my pasta sauce. I buy traditional Prego pasta sauce and freeze it in individual tupperware containers. If you leave a jar of opened pasta sauce in your fridge past a few days, it will turn acidic and is very unpleasant to eat. I can split one jar into four tupperware's and I freeze them for when I need them. You can thaw them out in the microwave on 30 second intervals with the top off and paper towel covering the container to avoid splatters.
Once thawed, I add a clove of minced garlic to the sauce. It gives the dish great flavor and only adds to it when in the oven. I mix the sauce in with the tortellini and transfer the pasta and sauce to an oven proof dish. My sister gave me this great one from Urban Outfitters last year and is perfect for a single sized portion.
Make sure to turn your oven on broil and it's completely heated up before adding the pasta. This will cook everything faster and cut down on oven time. Before popping the dish in the oven sprinkle some stressed mozzarella on top. I don't like too much cheese but I like being able to get a little bit of that baked cheese flavor all over the dish. This will literally be in the oven for three minutes before it's perfect. Be careful when you take it out, even though it was only in the oven for three minutes, it's still really hot! Wait for about five minutes before diving in! I eat this dish with a slice of baguette so soak up all that extra sauce! Enjoy!