One thing I'm working on this year is keeping our grocery budget in check. Sometimes when you're a blogger and you find a recipe or dream up a recipe, you stop at nothing to make it. And you justify your expenses because it's for the blog. It doesn't matter that the cheese is $17.99/lb, or the prosciutto is $11.99/lb... and when you've made the switch to buying all organic meats and dairy, it gets even worse. So I've been trying to focus more on shopping sales and utilizing my freezer as well as make meals where some of the ingredients can be used for another.
So far, it's going ok. I try to get in 'empty the pantry' mode, but then I go shopping and it turns into 'stock the pantry cheaply' mode. I can't tell you how many bags of frozen cascadian farms vegetables and fruit I got last week. They were on sale.... and I had coupons... So I decided to make a meal that used a few of my fully stocked pantry items - tortellini, ricotta, and vegetables. Paired with some vegetables on sale and at the farmer's market, I came out very cheap on this dinner!
Tortellini Primavera with Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta Sauce
1 package frozen tortellini
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
1/2 lb. asparagus spears, cut into 1" segments
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup ricotta
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes
Vegetable or chicken stock, for thinning
1 sprig of fresh thyme or basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add 1 tbsp. EVOO, garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper.
Saute' for 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
While veggies cook, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt heavily.
Add tortellini, cook according to package directions, during the last minute, drop in the asparagus and peas.
Drain and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse together ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice.
Add vegetables and pasta to the skillet.
Add ricotta sauce, herbs, salt and pepper.
Stir to combine, thin with stock if necessary.
Heat everything through, plate, garnish with crushed red pepper and parmesan, if desired.