Cheesy tortellini with a creamy tuscan tomato basil sauce – pasta lovers will fall madly for this easy 20-minute dish!
Annnnnd the Italian theme continues today. Oh my, speaking of which, I really need to tell you about what happened a few weeks ago.
My father-in-law’s birthday fell on Father’s Day this year and to celebrate, we took him out that weekend to dinner. By “we” I mean basically my husband’s entire family. The one place he was dying to go for dinner was Olive Garden. I’ve been to Olive Garden maybe… once before? And that was many years ago. I remember really liking their chicken and gnocchi soup, which apparently not the main soup to get there. Everyone raves about the zupa toscano soup, and of the breadsticks and salad. Which is the main subject of my story.
I guess I didn’t fully understand what was going on when we ordered because I couldn’t decide what I wanted and at the last minute blurted out that I would like to order the chicken and gnocchi soup, and that will be all thank you. A few minutes later, the waitress comes by with chilled salad plates and puts one in front of me…
Then, a moment later she places a ginormous monstrously huge bowl of salad in the center of the table. My mother in law who is sitting across from me says, “Tiff do you want some salad?”. Why yes, I would love to have some of the salad you are offering to go on my chilled salad plate which has been placed in front of me, thank you for asking.
A few minutes later the waitress whispers in my ear, did you decide you’d like to order salad? My answer: No thank you.
You Olive Garden regulars are blushing right now, so ashamed of me. About 15 minutes laters I realized my husband’s entire family was feeling pretty much the same way you are right now. They all understood the protocol of ordering at the restaurant and that they bring a giant hugemongous crazy-big bowl of salad out for only the people who asked to have salad. The rest of us are supposed to watch enviously from our seats and ignore the chilled salad plate in front of us.
Am I the only one seeing a problem here?? Chilled plate. Giant salad bowl. I was confused! I had all of 7 bites of that salad but you’d think I’d stolen from her daughter’s piggy bank the way the waitress shot me dirty looks for the rest of the meal. When I finally discovered what it was I was supposed to be embarrassed about, it was too late to be embarrassed and I simply decided I’d never go back to Olive Garden.
Just kidding. I may go back some day. In 7 years when my father-in -law’s birthday lands on Father’s Day again.
So that’s my sort of embarrassing and totally ridiculous Olive Garden story. Don’t be ashamed of me, I really made an honest mistake and I still blame the waitress for giving me a chilled salad plate. Plus my mother in law offered, she should have known better since she is a veteran! And the size of the salad bowls alone is to make anyone think that the salad is a free-for-all.
But really, I don’t need to pay top dollar at a fancy schmancy Italian restaurant, and after you make this tuscan tomato basil tortellini, you will totally be on board with me.
Tuscan Tomato Basil Tortellini
- 1 pound cheese or spinach filled tortellini pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup half and half
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup basil leaves - thinly sliced
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Place tortellini in a large pot or deep sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium heat and continue to boil 8-10 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- While tortellini is cooking, start making the sauce. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add flour and stir until mixture clumps together.
- Gradually whisk in half and half. Add tomato sauce, basil leaves, and parmesan cheese. Stir until smooth and cook about five minutes.
- Serve sauce over tortellini and top with additional parmesan, diced tomatoes, and parmesan cheese if desired.