Tortellini & Pancetta Potpie

As warm weather slowly turns cold, certain dishes that don’t make much sense serving during the summer start to sound more appealing. Potpie is one such dish. Cooks who want to try something new with potpie can try the following recipe for “Tortellini & Pancetta Potpie” from Elinor Klivans’ “Potpies: Yumminess in a Dish” (Chronicle Books).

Makes 6 servings

6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup lightly packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil

3/4 cup chicken broth (low sodium, if canned)

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

9 ounces cheese-filled egg tortellini

9 ounces cheese-filled spinach tortellini

Extremely Flaky Sour Cream Crust (see below)


1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Rub 1 teaspoon olive oil inside a baking dish with an 8-cup capacity.

2. In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta pieces over medium heat until the edges brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. In the same skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and basil and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and adjust the heat to cook it at a gentle boil until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Stir the sauce into the pancetta in the bowl. Add the salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Set aside.

3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the tortellini for 5 minutes. Drain the tortellini well and stir them into the pancetta and sauce to coat them with sauce. Transfer the pasta to the baking dish.


Extremely Flaky Sour Cream Crust

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

1/4 cup cold sour cream

1. To make the pastry in an electric mixer: Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and mix them with an electric mixer on low speed until the largest of the butter pieces are the size of small lima beans, about 1 minute. The butter pieces will be different sizes and there will still be some loose flour. Add the sour cream and continue mixing until large clumps of smooth dough that pull away from the sides of the bowl form, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the beaters clean, if needed.

To make the pastry by hand: Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Use a pastry blender, your fingertips or 2 dinner knives to combine the flour mixture and the butter until lima bean-size pieces form. Add the sour cream and stir with a large spoon for about 2 minutes until clumps of smooth dough form.

2. Form the dough into a smooth ball, flatten it into a 6-inch disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. You will see small pieces of butter in the dough. This is good and contributes to the flaky texture. The dough is now ready to roll and use in the recipe.

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