The $2.99 ALDI Find I Always Keep in the Fridge for Busy Weeknights

It’s my go-to when I’m too tired to cook.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

When I walk through my front door at the end of a long day, hungry and tired, I feel nothing but gratitude to my past self for one smart pantry-stocking habit: having ALDI’s refrigerated Priano Cheese Tortelloni on hand at all times. It means that the only thing between me and dinner for two is a pot of boiling water.

I’m the food adventurer in my family, but my husband loves nothing more than a simple Italian meal. He’s also a lifelong vegetarian and anything cheesy is right up his alley, so the three cheese-stuffed tortelloni is our go-to. I first tried the tortelloni on the recommendation of my dear friend Michael, who is Italian and swears by keeping a couple of packages in his fridge at all times. I’m so glad I took his advice.

Why I Love ALDI’s Cheese Tortelloni

I love that this tortelloni is filled with creamy ricotta rather than the grainy filling in some dried versions. It’s also a bargain at $2.99 for nine ounces. Because it’s fresh rather than dried, it cooks in two minutes, making it ideal for those weeknights when I'm too tired to cook.

If you’ve tried expensive frozen tortelloni and ravioli, you’ve probably noticed that the pasta is very fragile and often crumbles around the edges or comes apart, spilling the filling into the cooking water. Not these—they hold up nicely in their two-minute boil.

<p>Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph</p>

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How I Turn ALDI's Tortelloni Into a Meal

All I need to make a hearty meatless meal out of tortelloni is a seasonal vegetable, an onion, and olive oil. As soon as I put the water on to boil, I sauté the onion and some garlic in a skillet. In spring, I toss chopped asparagus and frozen peas into the onions when I drop the pasta in the boiling water. In summer, chopped zucchini and cherry tomatoes go in for a quick sear.

In fall and winter, I add chopped butternut squash or carrots, slivered Brussels sprouts, or shredded kale to the skillet. These heartier veggies caramelize in about 10 minutes. A handful of baby spinach added after the other veggies cook through is never a bad idea. Little extras like lemon zest, olives, dried thyme, or in my friend Michael’s kitchen, bacon, add easy punches of flavor. Just toss the drained tortelloni with the sautéed vegetables, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve with a salad.

Other Easy Ways To Upgrade Tortelloni

Also keep in mind that in any recipe where pasta is good, tortelloni is better. Puttanesca sauce, Bolognese, and Alfredo sauce makes for an outstanding bowl of tortelloni.

You can also use tortelloni in simple soups. Tortelloni en brodo is a classic Italian soup. Just bring a box of good chicken or vegetable stock to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook the tortelloni in the simmering stock. Minestrone is good with orzo, and it becomes a real treat with tortelloni bobbing in the sea of vegetables.

Any pasta salad will get an upgrade from swapping tortelloni for plain pasta. Toss them with a drizzle of vinaigrette, your favorite veggies, and some little mozzarella balls and you’ve got a winner to take to a potluck or pack for a work lunch.

For an easy party appetizer, thread cooked tortelloni on wooden skewers, alternating with grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and cubed cheese or olives. Serve on a platter drizzled with vinaigrette and you’ll be the host with the most.

Swapping tortelloni for the penne or rigatoni in your favorite baked pasta is another delicious move. Just boil it for one minute and let it finish cooking in the oven, where it will absorb the sauce you’ve tossed it with.

With all these easy and delicious ways to use ALDI’s cheese tortelloni, you’ll want to stock up on your next grocery run. You’ll be glad you did.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.