Pantry Raid! Tortellini with Shrimp and Asparagus

Every few weeks or so the roommates and some friends of mine gather for a pot-luck style dinner.  Last week we chose an Italian theme working around my friend Katie’s version of chicken saltimbocca.  Katie by the way, is a very near and dear friend of mine who I have known since college.  She too, has been looking to improve her cooking skills and try out new recipes so I sort of consider her my  guinea pig and myself as hers. If she’s up to it, I’ll get her to post her recipes here in the future!   Already impressed with her chicken, I was shocked to find out she had made about 3 pounds of tortellini!! Holy leftovers!  While I knew the four of us would put back a few bites there was no way that pasta was getting eaten in one meal…let alone a whole week. So, after everyone had gone and the dishes painstakingly washed I peered into the fridge to scope out the goods. Yup, one giant, plastic container full of pasta.  A dozen different ideas were racing through my head and I couldn’t wait to work my magic on the leftovers.

I am admitted leftover fanatic and I think I sometimes enjoy them more than the original meal. If there is something I don’t like or want to improve on it’s comforting to know there is a bit of it left to assist in my mad scientist creations. The recipe I made from Katie’s leftover pasta is very easy and required about 10 minutes of actual work. Can’t beat that! The end result is something that is a tasty metamorphosis from its cold, pallid, leftover state.  I have  a couple more ideas that I would do with this pasta and since I continue to have about two cups still clinging to be reconstituted I will post those this weekend!

Tortellini with Shrimp and Asparagus

Olive oil

salt & pepper

1/2  red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup thawed or fresh shrimp

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1.5 Cups leftover (or fresh) tortellini pasta cooked as per package instructions

1/2 bunch asparagus

1/2 lemon

balsamic vinegar, drizzle as garnish (I think seafood and pasta require some acid but you can omit the vinegar and lemon if you choose)

  • Cut off tough ends of asparagus then toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Roast asparagus in baking dish or foil-lined baking sheet at 425F until easily pierced with fork, about 10 minutes (about half way through cooking turn them so they don’t stick)
  • In a pan saute red pepper and garlic in olive oil until tender
  • Add shrimp, sprinkle with crushed red pepper, and continue to saute until the shrimp turn pink in color and begin to curl  (if using frozen, pre-cooked shrimp just cook until heated through – you don’t want to over cook the shrimp)
  • As the shrimp is nearly cooked through add the pasta and stir to combine
  • When pasta is heated throughout remove from stove
  • Add roasted asparagus (cut into bite size pieces) and toss
  • Top with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (again, optional)

So there we have a completely different meal with loads of flavor and color that was made using things I already had. You can alter this recipe using whatever you have on hand. I think this would also be good with wilted spinach instead of the asparagus and chicken instead of shrimp. See, endless possibilities!! Next time you have leftovers consider giving them a true second chance instead of just a 45 second nuke in the microwave that will leave you completely unsatisfied.  This seriously only took about 15 minutes and was a complete meal in itself.

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3 Responses to “Pantry Raid! Tortellini with Shrimp and Asparagus”
  1. jk says:

    Why wasn’t I invited, I would have taken care of the leftovers!!! 😦 lol

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