Stirring the Pot…And Being Comfortable While Doing It

My dad was an agitator.  A great man, but sometimes he liked to shake things up, just because he could.  Especially when he was joking with us boys.  He was someone who liked to “tease” us when we were growing up.  Maybe about something little, fairly innocuous, or it could be about a girlfriend.  He also like to joke about with our friends.  It was always in fun and no harm, no foul.

He would do this with anyone.  Sometimes, just saying something to get a reaction…and he usually got it.  He did have a self-proclaimed moniker…he called himself a “Sh*t Disturber”.  And he was sometimes proud of it in a funny kinda way.

This is also referred to as “Stirring the pot”.

This past Christmas, while we were out shopping for some gifts, I saw a cook book by Tyler Florence.  The same Tyler Florence of The Food Network fame.  I have one of his books, “Dinner At My PLace”, and it is one of  my “go to” books for recipes.  I enjoy it so much, I have given it as gifts to friends.  So when I saw this other cook book by him,“Stirring The Pot”, I figured it was worth checking out.

I like it when I am right…

It is very much worth a “check out”.  We picked up a couple as gifts, and of course we got one for ourselves.

One of the recipes that caught my eye while I was “checking it out” in Borders, was a Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Tortellini.  (I think I just gained 5 pounds saying that)  I thought what a great comfort food dinner this would make…especially in the winter, snowing, fireplace, wine….ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…excuse me, I started to dozed off for a moment.

I think that is one of the aspects of comfort food that makes it so, well, comfortable…you can just kinda melt into oblivion, especially if you have had a little wine, you feel warm, it is cold and snowy outside…ZZZZZ…er, uh, sorry again.

Well, here I was the other day, thinking of what to fix for dinner.  And I really needed something to make me feel good. Something I usually don’t have.  Comfort food.  Ha!  Stirring the Pot!

So I started my ritual of getting all of the necessary ingredients together.   Glass…check.  Wine…check.   Wine opener…check.  Okay, I think I am ready to fix dinner.  Ready for some comfort food.  Ready for Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Tortellini, with a small pan roasted filet on the side.

Fortunately, my parents taught me at a young age to enjoy almost all kinds of food.  Fruits, vegetables, meats, everything.  (Although I remember my dad buying a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts.  I think he was afraid that we would like them and eat them all…it was a small jar…they were kind of a little “treat” dad got for himself.  To dissuade us from eating them, he told us that artichoke hearts were fish hearts.  It worked.  I really didn’t want to try them…until mom made him tell us the truth.) And one of the things that Diana and I really enjoy is squash.  Acorn.  Butternut.  Zucchini.  Yellow.  Oyster.  All of it.  It is a great and versatile veggie…and this recipe enhances that versatility by roasting it while filled with tortellini.  (Beware…there is a heavy richness factor here to deal with…but c’mon…this is comfort food, remember?)

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Tortellini

  1. 2 medium acorn squash, cut in half through the “equator” and all seeds scooped out.
  2. 1 pound of tortellini (the recipe calls for cheese stuffed tortellini, but yo could probably use any kind.  Also I think store-bought fresh or frozen works fine)
  3. 2 cups heavy cream
  4. 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  5. 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
  6. 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for topping.
  7. 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  8. Fresh sage leaves
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash through the “equator” and scoop out all of the seeds.  Place squash halves on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender
  • Cook tortellini according to package instructions, drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
  • in a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat.  Add garlic and thyme. Cook until reduce and thickens (5-7 minutes)  Add the cup of Parm-Regg and the nutmeg, stir over a low heat until the cheese melts.  Toss in the tortellini (add some pasta water if it is too thick)  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide into the squash bowls.
  • Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and sprinkle a little more cheese on top with the fresh sage.  Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese browns.

  • (okay, I had some bacon left over from another meal and I crumbled that on top.  Also, Tyler’s recipe calls for 1 garlic clove and 1 sprig of thyme.  I added a little more…it did not seem to detract from the recipe at all)

As far as the filet was concerned, I just seared both sides in a cast iron skillet (after I seasoned the filets with salt, fresh cracked black pepper and garlic) then put in the oven at 375 degrees for about 7-8 minutes.

There you go…open another bottle wine, enjoy the food, the fire and life.

I know that you don’t need “comfort food” to be comfortable, but this really tastes good.  Being comfortable is important to all of us.  In our life, our jobs, relationships and our skin.  I am. I hope you are too.

This is our life.  Be comfortable and enjoy it and each other!

Now, please excuse me…ZZZZ

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Published in: on January 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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