Agnolotti with Garlic-Spinach Sauce

Agnolotti with Garlic-Spinach Sauce

Agnolotti with Garlic-Spinach Sauce

Fresh pasta is a treat. And while I do enjoy getting elbow deep in the semolina from time to time, it’s not convenient for your average weeknight dinner. The happy medium? Fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store.

We recently had the opportunity (read as: coupon for a free package) to try Buitoni’s Riserva Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti. Translated, that’s a 4-cheese stuffed pasta that look like half-round raviolis.

Having just had beef the night before, we paired it with chicken but didn’t relish looking at two beige-colored items on the same plate. Time to get creative.

First, I made a sauce of pomegranate liqueur, tequila, mustard and other savory ingredients and applied it to both sides of the rice flour-dredged chicken breasts as they cooked. Meanwhile (and as the pasta cooked–remember fresh pasta doesn’t take nearly as long to cook as dry) I melted butter as a base to a garlic and spinach sauce. Everything was ready at just the right time and dinner was delicious.

The Quattro Formagi Agnolotti are very tender (another hallmark of fresh pasta in general) with a creamy filling that pairs well with a simple oil or butter-based sauce. The addition of spinach definitely brightened up the plate a bit but, with the cheese filling, was almost like an inside-out creamed spinach (or would that be outside-in?).

According to the label, each 9-ounce package serves 2; that’s 6 agnolotti a piece. At 360 calories per serving, the addition of a nice sauce and a salad and this could be a dinner portion and not just a side dish. As an accompaniment, you might be able to get three smaller servings out, but there’s not really enough in each agnolotti for 4 servings in a single package.


Garlic-Spinach Sauce

1/2 c Butter, melted
1.5 T minced garlic
1.5 c cooked Spinach
1 T Salt
Fresh-ground Pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a small saucepan and saute garlic until golden brown. Add cooked spinach, salt and pepper and toss with cooked pasta.

Pomegranate-Mustard Chicken

2 T Spicy Brown Mustard
2 T Pomegranate Liqueur
1/2 T Agave Nectar
3/4 T Tequila
1/2 t Lime Juice
4 4-oz Chicken Breasts
3/4 c Rice Flour
Salt & Pepper
2 T Olive Oil

Combine mustard through lime juice in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Adjust flavors as needed. (Pomegranate juice can be substituted for the pomegranate liqueur and the tequila skipped if you’d prefer to not use alcohol.) Dredge chicken in rice flour seasoned with salt and pepper and brown on both sides in the hot oil. Spoon or brush the pomegranate-mustard mixture over each side of the chicken and continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

[Disclaimer: I was provided with a free coupon for this item. All opinions and observations of this product are mine alone.]

Pomegranate Snark


A while back–maybe a year or so, that’s pretty long in Internet-years–I was part of a conversation among friends which resulted in the following question: If you had a drink named after you, what would it be called?

Now, this was back when I was a bar novice. I stuck to rum & Cokes, Kahlua & cream (or the stand-by Amaretto Sour), avoided vodka at all costs and didn’t know there were more than 3 or 4 types of rum. And by types, I mean regular (white), dark, spiced and 151. Maybe I didn’t even qualify as a novice, yet, come to think of it. At any rate, I did at least come up with a name for my drink: the Snarky Little Tart.

I also knew enough, or thought I did, that the little should signify a shot or some other small portion and the tart naturally led me to think something from DeKuyper’s Pucker line-up. I was on a serious gin kick at the time, so that would be the base and since this was a drink about me, it should definitely be red, so I was leaning towards watermelon or, more appropriately, cherry pucker. That is until I found pomegranate liqueurs at the store and, thus, the Snarky Little Tart had it’s debut.

Snarky Little Tart

1 Ice cube
1 oz Gin
.5 oz Vanilla cordial
1 oz Pomegranate liqueur
splash of Club soda

Build the drink over the single ice cube in a double-shot or cordial glass. Swirl.

This isn’t a bad drink, especially for the first-time mixologist that I was. But, now, a year or two later (really, time flies, all spent online) and several more experiments under my bar towel, I think it’s time to give the ‘Tart a little more room and a polish.

Trying out the different combinations is almost more fun than sipping the triumphant final drink, so I thought I’d go into what changes I made and why. First was the Vanilla cordial, originally made for me by a friend it’s not something that everyone is going to have on hand and not something I’ve ever made myself. The bottle of vanilla vodka never seems to leave the top of the bar these days, so it was a natural first choice when updating the drink. Second choice was to add some pomegranate juice since I wanted a bit of mixer to cut the straight alcohol and I really wanted to get away from the club soda, even if it was only a splash.

Unfortunately, the vanilla vodka didn’t play as nicely with the rest of the ingredients, it was a bit harsh in some ratios and just too bright in others. Then it dawned on me that the Cordial was a brandy base, and I had a wonderful brandy-vanilla flavor tucked away under the bar in the form of a bottle of Tuaca . This turned out to be the magic bullet that pulled together the different flavors (excepting the vanilla vodka, of course, it was just too pointy, even for Snark). So after about 4 different goes, we finally agreed on a winner:

CHF Snarky Tart

1 oz Gin
1 oz Tuaca
1 oz Pomegranate liqueur
2 oz Pomegranate juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker half-full of ice and shake with a touch of bitter wit. Quoting some Dorothy Parker wouldn’t go amiss, either.

This slightly more mature version of it’s younger shot sibling retains the tartness, the color and the touch of gin but goes down much smoother and is meant for sipping.

PS-Pomegranate Snark (along with a long derivation that led to Snarky Cheerleader) was another potential name for the spruced-up cocktail.