Having a handful of versatile ingredients on hand makes it easy to decide what’s for dinner on the rare occasion that I have a gap in the meal plan. Because I meal plan and like to make just one trip to the grocery store per week (or longer), gaps don’t happen very often. On days when there’s four inches of rain falling and I really want to skip the trip to the grocery store, gaps happen. Gaps also happen when life gets in the way of my regularly scheduled “programming.” Just this weekend, the meal plan went right out the window when soccer was cancelled on Saturday. The weather promised to play nice, so we made a spur of the moment decision to visit Brooklyn. I spent Sunday celebrating my cousin’s upcoming wedding at a great bridal shower. By the time I came home (there was a total of eight hours of travel round-trip involved for me), dinner was the remnants of Friday night’s pizza. Gaps happen. Meal planning wasn’t always my “thing.” Especially when I lived alone, I would go to the grocery store and buy a few things that I considered to be staples and then half of the excitement would be how to put them together when I felt like having an actual meal. Now I meal plan because while I think it’s an adventure to stare at an open refrigerator while trying to visualize whether or not I have this or that other ingredient, we try to keep dinner time more consistent.
Life happens, the plan isn’t always perfect, and this is where my single-girl foraging skills, some basic ingredients, and creativity are a life saver. Okay, so by “foraging” I really mean “standing in front of the open refrigerator like I used to,” but that foraging procured a jar of roasted red peppers that I had on hand to use as a sandwich topping, and a bag of tortellini that I had hanging around to use for a tortellini salad. It didn’t take long for me to decide to turn that jar of peppers into a sauce, use it to top the tortellini, and avoid venturing out to the grocery store in the pouring rain. I’m glad I made that decision. This was a tasty dinner that took almost no time to prepare. I added shrimp as an afterthought because I felt like the tortellini needed a protein to make it a more substantial dinner. Okay, so I rarely need an excuse to add shrimp to anything, but shrimp wasn’t part of the initial plan here. I’m glad I added it in, it cooks very quickly and was perfect for scooping up the sauce. Chicken would have been great here as well.
Tortellini with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Shrimp
- 14 oz. bag cheese tortellini
- 7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained (or roast your own red peppers)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 C. milk or heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 lb. large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
Boil the tortellini in a large pot of water according to package directions, until al dente. Set aside.
Blot as much excess moisture as you can from the roasted red peppers using paper towels.
Place the roasted red peppers and garlic into a blender and puree for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Pour the red pepper mixture into a small sauce pan and stir in the oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the sauce comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally while preparing the shrimp.
To prepare the shrimp, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the shrimp, then add them to the heated skillet in a single layer.
Cook the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the shrimp are pink on the outside and opaque inside.
Add the milk to the sauce and stir to combine.
Cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through, then add the tortellini to the sauce and stir to completely coat the tortellini.
Top the tortellini mixture with the cooked shrimp (you can add the shrimp to the sauce as well and stir it in with the tortellini).
Makes 4 servings.
Source: Diana Dishes original