Tortellini Skewers

August 17, 2009


Let’s say you’re having a party.  Let’s say between 40 and 50 hungry people are coming.  Let’s say you decided that you were going to make all finger food because you a) wanted to challenge yourself a bit, b) you like finger food, and c) you just can’t bear to put out Costco plastic forks for people to use only to be thrown away en masse at the end of the evening.  (We can put paper plates and napkins in our yard waste containers here in Seattle.)  Let’s say you needed at least one dish that was easy, looked pretty, and you knew people would gobble up.  Enter tortellini skewers.

This is not rocket science.  You boil up storebought tortellini and skewer it with a stick.  The secret here is two fold.  That little leaf of basil you see tucked between each noodle adds color and a burst of flavor (this was my touch – you’re welcome, Martha.)  And the sauce, which is not pictured, is one of those that taste far better than it’s components would suggest (although they are good components.)  Yes, the tortellini needs to be cooked and skewered just before serving but the sauce can be made the day before, the boiling takes no brain power, and you can let your mom do the assembling.  Thanks Mom!


One Year Ago: Chilled Roasted Tomato Red Pepper Soup with Mint

Skewered Tortellini
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeurvres Handbook
Makes 3 1/2 dozen

Parmesan – Lemon Dip
1 cup crème fraiche
2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated on the small wholes if a box cheese grater
Grated zest of one lemon and juice of 1 large lemon
5 cloves roasted garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds tortellini
Basil leaves (opal and green basil look especially nice)
Olive oil

1.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the crème fraiche, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set the dip aside until ready to use.  (DT: Can be one day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before using.)

2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the tortellini until just tender.  Drain the pasta and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent sticking.

3.  Put 2 tortellini on small, 6-inch skewers with one leaf small leaf or one large folded leaf basil.  Serve with dipping sauce.


  1. Those are just about as cute as they get! I’m assuming your Party went well this weekend? It looks like you had fun putting it together. Now go put your feet up and enjoy this beautiful NW evening!

    Comment by Dana Zia — August 17, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  2. This is such a great idea! I love finger food and the dipping sauce sounds wonderful with the tortellini. Hope the party was a success!

    Comment by fresh365 — August 17, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  3. The skewers look so great in the vase, and then I read about the sauce. That sounds absolutely delicious!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — August 17, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  4. I hope you’re relaxing after your party–you are AMBITIOUS to do finger food for 50! Lucky guests.

    Comment by The Leftoverist — August 17, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  5. Sounds super-easy and looks delicious – but what tortellini filling do you recommend with the Parmesan-lemon dip?

    Comment by Koek! — August 17, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  6. Great idea! Its the perfect size for being skewered!

    Comment by zoe — August 17, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  7. I have never thought about doing that. Interesting idea. Is there some way to keep the tortellini from drying out or do they usually not last that long? :)

    Comment by The Cooking Bride — August 17, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  8. Love this idea! Glad you had a great party!

    Comment by Maria — August 17, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  9. Ooo what an adorable and delicious creation!! Makes me want to host a dinner party soon (and check out that Martha Stewart cookbook)!

    Comment by Ashley — August 17, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  10. That is the cutest idea! Very pretty with the basil (is that purple basil I see tucked in there?).

    Comment by Hilary — August 17, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  11. These look adorable. What a great idea!

    Comment by veron — August 18, 2009 @ 1:12 am

  12. That is just about the best idea for appetizers I’ve ever seen. Thanks, Dana!

    Comment by redmenace — August 18, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  13. This is a FANTASTIC idea!

    Comment by veggiebelly — August 19, 2009 @ 6:16 am

  14. Such a unique presentation. I really like that!

    Comment by elra — August 19, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  15. I posted these at the beginning of the summer.
    I put a cherry tomato, basil leaf and artichoke heart with a tortellini on each skewer and dressed them in a vinaigrette.
    It was a very popular and simple appetizer.

    I think your presentation is lovely. You are too hard on yourself!

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — August 20, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  16. What a fun way to spice up the presentation of finger food. I love it!

    Comment by zested — August 21, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

  17. […] dish, or get creative like fellow fantastic food blogger Dana from Dana Treat does and put them on skewers and turn them into finger food!  The last step is to figure out a creative dipping sauce to use! […]

    Pingback by Baked Shrimp, Artichoke & Goat Cheese Wontons « The Gourmet Analyst — August 22, 2009 @ 1:04 am

  18. What a great idea. It looks so beautiful.

    Comment by Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. — September 2, 2009 @ 5:37 am

  19. My daughter and I just served these up yesterday as an appetizer for my other daughter’s baby shower and they were a big hit! I knew they would be and we had saved this recipe for just this event. We ended up tossing the tortellini in a balsamic vinaigrette first, which gave just a nice extra hint of flavor (dipping sauce on a white carpet was a little scary). The only problem – a nice one – was that several ladies thought it was a floral arrangement. That’s what we get for putting them in a pretty vase.

    I just wanted you to know, Dana. You touch many lives in many ways – all delectable.

    Comment by Penny — January 18, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  20. hi Dana… I’m making these for a friend’s grad from med school and 30th birthday (can you say “hello adulthood”)… I too want to know: will they dry out if made too far in advance. It’s a crowd of 60 so any advance prep is a bonus.

    Comment by catherine — April 21, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

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