Wildcilla's Culinary Daydreams

Tortellini Zucchini Stacks
July 14, 2009, 6:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I inherited a lot of wonderful things from my mother.  Her love of reading, I’d like to think her consideration of others and loyalty to family, her joy in the kitchen. What I did not inherit from my tiny mother was her green thumb.  (Well, that or the tiny part.) And while I could have made my muddy brown thumb work in a lush, verdant area such as Austin… I made the laughable choice of moving to Lubbock.  Yes, Lubbock, where it floods when it rains because the ground is so completely un-used to the foreign substance of water.

So, needless to say, and obviously I blame Lubbock and not my lack of gardening skills, I killed 7 potted herbs, 1 jalapeno plant, 1 tomato plant, and never had a chance with the attempted grapes.  This summer, I mean.  If you go back a season, there are many more to add to my serial garden killer repertoire.

But other people, growing people, people who are one with the earth and have thumbs in shades of lime and kelly and hunter, those people have an abundance of plants right now.  Namely zucchini and tomatoes. These are tiny casseroles for people with those baskets full.  And for the rest of us who have a local supermarket.

Zucchini Sausage Tortellini Stacks
(There just has to be a better name for this.)
I love dinners in single serve dishes (personal meatloaf, personal lasagna…) and my boyfriend hates vegetables, so this was the perfect way to give me lots of zucchini and tomato and him lots of tortellini and sausage tomato sauce.

2 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes
1 can tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 spicy links of ground sausage
tortellini (this was actually meant for ravioli, but I live in Lubbock, and you take what you can get)
shredded mozzarella (or the pack of Italian cheese at your local crappy grocery)

Boil up some water (with salt added after it comes to a boil so it doesn’t corrode your pans). Toss in the tortellini, or ravioli, or Italian style pasta that you could find. During the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking, toss in your zucchini. Drain but don’t rinse.
Meanwhile, make some pasta sauce in a saucepan by sauteing your onion (or shallot, in my case, Chris thinks he doesn’t like onions) and garlic in some olive oil. Add your can of tomatoes and let it all heat up. Now I got a fancy Cuisinart hand blender a few days ago, (I know, braggart, right?), so I poured that part in my fancy cup, blended it up, and then poured it back in. Maybe some of you don’t have to hide your vegetable eating habits. In which case, leave it chunky – but still pour it out of the pan for the next part, or do your sausage first. Lucky. If you do have someone in your life who doesn’t think they eat vegetables, blend it up, and no one is the wiser.
Then saute your sausage in the same pan until it’s browned and all broken up. Add your tomato concoction, and you’ve got sausage tomato sauce.
Now comes the fun part. Slice up those tomatoes, and chiffonade that basil.
Grease your individual dishes first. Now this is what mine looks like – picture the boyfriends with fewer vegetable and no visible green.
Layer in the tomatoes first, then a thin layer of olive oil, then a little basil, then pasta, then zucchini, then the sausage tomato sauce and finally cheese. Repeat as necessary, until your little oven safe dish is full. Try your damnedest to finish with cheese. It’s important.
Bake it at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

There you have it. Someone else’s summer in a complete dish. You could make it up in a big pan if you like. But then, how could you dive into your own dish, made with love just the way you like it?


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