Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
With that first spotting of fresh asparagus in April, my mind instantly goes to tortellini in asparagus broth. This dish is one of my favorite spring time meals because it highlights so many remarkable flavors of the season with a light and aromatic broth.
Not only does the broth taste amazing, but it also uses the tough sections of the leek and asparagus that typically get thrown away. The fibrous parts of these veggies actually hold a lot of flavor and add depth to the sauce.
The lemon adds a tanginess that pairs well with the herbs well, but if you don’t like the sour taste you can serve wedges on the side. Feel free to swap out with whatever is fresh, spring onions, peas, and fava beans would all be welcome additions.
Tortellini in Asparagus Broth
- 1 large leek, (cleaned and cut into 1/2” rounds, including green parts)
- 1⁄2 Lb asparagus, (cut in half. tough stems saved for broth and tops reserved)
- 1 Cup Fresh dill
- 1⁄2 Cup Fresh thyme, (leaves removed from stem)
- 2 Tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp butter, (divided)
- 2 Tbsp dry white wine, (Chardonnay works well)
- 1⁄2 Cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 3 Cups water
- 10-12 ounces of pre-prepared tortellini, (preferably ricotta filled, but mushroom or other kinds would work too)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- lemon zest, fresh dill, and chives for serving
- Heat a large saucepan over a medium flame and sauté the leek with half of the butter and a pinch of salt for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned. Add white wine and scrape any browned bits.
- Add asparagus stems, dill, thyme, 1 tsp of salt, and water to pan and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes until asparagus stems are tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the broth and veggies to a blender and purée until very smooth, 3 or 4 minutes. Then, place a fine mesh sieve over the saucepan and pour the purée through it, you can use the back of a spoon to push it through. Discard whatever is left over in the strainer.
- Bring the strained broth back to a simmer and add the tortellini and asparagus tops and cook for about 3-4 minutes or to package directions.
- Once the tortellini is cooked, add the heavy cream, parmesan, lemon juice, remaining butter, and a pinch of salt. The broth should start to thicken slightly.
- Transfer to serving bowls and top with some fresh dill, chives, and lemon zest.