When I am in the presence of tortellini, I feel honored. Why? Because tortellini is the King of All Pasta. Although every kind of pasta is wonderful and delicious in all its starchy goodness, none could hold a candle to the majesty of tortellini.
Why does tortellini reign supreme? Because it’s filled with cheese! How could any plain pasta compare to pockets of cheesy stuffing? You don’t have to dress tortellini up with fancy sauces to make it fun and delicious. In fact, they’re a tasty snack when eaten plain. But did you know that this pasta royalty is good for more than just piling in a bowl and eating with a fork?
My Tortellini Dippers with your choice of 4-Cheese Fondue or Pesto for dipping take tortellini to a whole new level. This isn’t some bland pasta entree; it’s a fun appetizer with two delectable and decadent dipping sauces to dunk skewered tortellini into. This beats chips and dip any day!
Here, you can choose the homemade route with an easy but divine 4-Cheese Fondue, or you can go the pre-made route with some pesto from the store (or you can make your own pesto too). I used both so everyone could dip what they wanted, and because both sauces are delicious. But the best part about using both sauces is that their flavors are so complimentary you can combine the two, if you’re feeling adventurous.
The 4-Cheese Fondue is smooth, creamy, and cheese-loaded to the max. With melty Fontina, sharp parmesan, mild Monterey jack, and gooey mozzarella, you’ve got a harmonious quartet with which you can’t go wrong. Everybody works together beautifully, each bringing their own flavor element and amping up the cheesiness to an extreme level. The ooey gooey fondue is a perfect pairing for those tender little tortellinis, and also with the pesto if you take my advice and combine a little bit of each.
Forget the same old boring appetizers that no one actually enjoys; step outside the bag of chips and experience delicious little tortellinis dunked in heavenly 4-Cheese Fondue and robust pesto. It’s fun, fresh, and a welcome change to the typical finger foods.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Pick whatever kind of tortellini flavor you like, and if you want to add some nutritional value, go whole grain.
- I did experiment with ravioli instead of tortellini, but they were a bit too big for dipping.
- Make sure to cook your tortellini al dente, meaning that it still has a bit of bite, so that it isn’t limp and falling off your skewers.
- There’s a lot of cheese in that fondue because it’s FONDUE, not a sauce.
- You can pop the tortellinis in the oven to bake up nice and crisp after boiling. Then they have some crunch, like a chip would, when you dip ‘em.
Tortellini Dippers with 4-Cheese Fondue and Pesto Sauce
By The Smart Cookie Cook
Generously serves 8
- 3 20-oz. packages tortellini, your choice of flavors (I used spinach & cheese and five-cheese, but there are a ton of fun flavors of there)
- 1 7-oz. container basil pesto OR buy 2 containers if not making the fondue
For the Four-Cheese Fondue:
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, cook tortellini just until al dente. This will literally only take a minute. Drain. Pour tortellini onto prepared baking sheet and keep warm in oven until fondue is done.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute until translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour until free of lumps and let cook for one minute, continuing to whisk. Whisk in cream until free of lumps then cover and let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Whisk in all the cheeses, salt, and pepper until completely smooth. Taste test to make sure it’s to your liking. If it’s too thick, whisk in 1/4 cup of milk at a time. Transfer to fondue pot to keep warm while serving or serve straight from pot if you don’t have a fondue pot, keeping lid on so it stays warm. You may heat up the pesto in the microwave before serving or eat it as is. Serve sauces with the tortellinis on fondue forks or skewers.
Which scrumptious sauce…