Tortellini alla Gigi reminds me so much of my dad.
Remember how I said that he used to work in a pizzeria for close to 20 years? Indeed, he did!
Funny thing is he never really cared much for pizza, though. My dad was a true lover of all things pasta. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him go a single day without eating pasta, in some form or another.
He had very unique tastes in the matter, however. While most people tend to go for a plate of spaghetti covered with a generous amount of rich, meaty sauce, my dad’s favorite was Capelli d’Angelo mixed with just barely enough tomato sauce to give the noodles an orange tint. He would then sprinkle enough red pepper flakes over his plate to set any normal people’s mouths on fire, literally. I couldn’t even count the number of times that I opened the fridge to find a little container of leftover pasta and sneakily stole a bite before I realized (alas, too late) that they were leftovers from my dad’s plate. Can you say FIRE??!? It still hurts just thinking about it.
Tortellini alla Gigi was the great exception to his “barely-put-any-sauce-in-my-pasta-please” rule. That one, he would enjoy the way it is meant to: smothered in a generous amount of the richest, thickest and creamiest rosé sauce. Of course, he would still sprinkle it for what seemed to be forever with his favorite condiment in the whole wide world, you guessed it, red pepper flakes! There was simply no escaping that.
It also happens to be the only dish that I remember ever seeing him bring back from the pizzeria for himself after his shift, so he could enjoy it before to hit the sack. Oh, ‘cuz yeah, my dad would almost always eat his beloved pasta late at night, when he’d get back from work. And then he’d go to bed… don’t know how he did it, but it seemed to work for him.
So anyway, all this to say that, to this day, Tortellini alla Gigi always reminds me of him. While there exist many variations on this classic, the one that I’m sharing today is the one and only true version for me: cheese stuffed tortellini, sauteed mushrooms and sliced prosciutto all smothered in a delicious tomato sauce, to which loads of cream and melted cheese was added to make it “rosé”.
If you’ve never had Tortellini alla Gigi, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. I think it’s about time you fixed that. And if you’re familiar with it, I’m ready to bet that you now have an irresistible urge to dive face down in a big bowlful of the stuff.
Sorry, not sorry…
- 600g | 1.3lb frozen 3-cheese tortellini
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 227g | 8oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Sprinkle salt and pepper
- 1 cup Vermouth (or dry white wine)
- 1 large can (796ml | 28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup (240ml | 8oz ) heavy cream
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 120g | 4.25oz mozzarella (or sharp cheddar), cubed
- 6 slices prosciutto (about 100g | 3.5oz) (plus more for garnish, if desired)
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook them until they get nice and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the vermouth (or dry white wine) and deglaze the bottom of the pan, then throw in the crushed tomatoes and spices. Stir well and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover partly and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the tortellini according to the instructions the on package. Be careful not to overcook the pasta: tortellini is surprisingly delicate and cooks fairly quickly. As soon as it starts floating to the top, it's done. Strain and reserve.
- Add the heavy cream and parsley to the tomato sauce, stir until well incorporated, and then add the cooked tortellini, cubed cheese and chopped prosciutto. Stir delicately until well combined.
- Serve piping hot, garnished with a little bit more chopped prosciutto, if desired.
Step-by-step instructions and pictures
Okay, it’s official… I have a problem with my camera: I can’t stop hitting that trigger!
If I keep at it, I’ll soon be taking pictures showing you how to boil water, or how to bring your food to your mouth once it’s all good and done.
If that ever happens, please someone call the hospital and have them come pick me up.
The first thing you need to do is heat some olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and cook them until they get nice and golden, about 5 minutes.
Then, add the onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of vermouth (or dry white wine) and deglaze the bottom of the pan
Next, throw in the crushed tomatoes and spices. Stir well and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover partially and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s thickened.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the tortellini according to the instructions on the package. Be careful not to overcook the pasta: tortellini is surprisingly delicate and cooks fairly quickly.
As soon as it starts floating to the top, it’s done.
Strain and reserve the cooked pasta.
When the sauce has thickened sufficiently, add the heavy cream and parsley…
…and then stir until well incorporated.
Add the cooked tortellini, cubed cheese and chopped prosciutto.
Stir delicately until well combined.
Serve piping hot, garnished with a little bit more chopped prosciutto and chopped parsley, if desired.