February 13, 2012

National Tortellini Day

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Federico Fellini

It's National Tortellini Day!

Sponsored by: Barilla

There are few things quite as special as when someone cooks something for you out of love and because they genuinely want to. My mom, who's been flexing her Italian cuisine muscles lately, decided that she wanted to take the opportunity to make me her new favorite dish tonight.

Provided I bring some kind of dessert.

Although they're the world's leading pasta maker with 40 to 45% of the Italian market (and 25% of the U.S. market), Barilla is a family-owned operation. Founded by Peitro Barilla in 1877, it's now run by three brothers: Guido, Luca, and Paolo. I continue to appreciate and taste in their food the simple values they hold near and dear to their company: "a love of life, devotion to quality, and respect for tradition."

I had never had Barilla's tortellini, but was really excited to try it (because for me, any time I eat real cheese is like a holiday of sorts!). They fill a thin layer of rich, delicate pasta with a perfectly balanced blend of three flavorful cheeses including sweet swiss emmenthal, light ricotta (*swoon* I love me some ricotta), and nutty grana padano. According to the Barilla website, "when these three distinctive flavors are combined, they create a zesty, delightful taste sensation that captures all the dimensionality that is the hallmark of authentic Italian cooking."

And it really was. When I first received the tortellini I was a bit skeptical. I had no idea they were going to arrive in a baggy that didn't need any kind of refrigeration (I didn't even know tortellini came that way!). And, while the bag said the pasta would double in size and be plenty to feed two people, I highly doubted it. But it really did!: the tortellini plumped right up, swelling into a much more substantial size. And it was absolutely delicious, too. The texture was spot on: a silky smooth pasta shell, with a rich, creamy cheese center. In all honesty, I was expecting something much more dried out and pasty. I also wasn't expecting it to be quite as flavorful as it was, but - as Barilla promised on their packaging and website - it ended up being a perfect and unique balance of full-bodied cheeses.

Yum. Just yum.

Happy National Tortellini Day!

Disclaimer: The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer. Opinions expressed are totally my own and are NOT in anyway influenced by monetary compensation. Logo used with permission of company.