Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Recipe

When I think of recipes these days, the first thing that comes to mind is not always food. I'm always grateful when texture-fiends like myself post their Photoshop recipes because it helps me learn different techniques and how to create interesting effects.

Unfortunately, I create in Photoshop a lot like I cook- a touch of this and a dash of that and nothing is measured precisely.    I do well to remember which textures I use so I can give proper credit to their creator, much less exactly how I put it together.   Over time, I've developed a little bit of a processing workflow and certain actions are most always thrown into the mix regardless of the end result I hope to achieve - kind of like how I use a lot of garlic in most of my Italian recipes.

One such recipe is my "tortellini con panna e` prosciutto" (tortellini with ham and cream).  I lived in Italy for about three years from early 1988 to late 1991.  A young wife and mother at the time, I pretty much learned to cook from my Italian neighbors and friends.  This recipe has turned into a family favorite and "go to" dish for entertaining.   I jokingly call it my "man-catcher" meal because it was the first thing I cooked for my boyfriend and he frequently requests it.  In fact, he still claims to hold a grudge against me because  I once made it for an office potluck and didn't save him any.

Naturally I get asked for the recipe a lot and I have made and broken many promises to write it down and share it.  So, when he invited some old friends for dinner last night, I offered to make this dish with the ulterior motive of capturing the ingredients and measurements so I could finally keep my word.

Now that everything in my life somehow ties back to photography I decided it might make a good still life story, and that is the featured photo for today. So, in addition to shopping for the ingredients I also shopped for props.  Everything but the dishes, the wine glass and the cookbook was purchased for this purpose.  I think I've crossed the line to all out obsession at this point.

So, without further adieu, I will now share the recipe with you - the tortellini recipe that is.  The only thing I can really tell you about the associated Photoshop recipe is that I used the French Kiss texture "Deep Lemon Fresco."

Tortellini con panna e` prosciutto
(adapted for American grocery shoppers)

Ingredients - click on photo to enlarge

2 20 oz. packages of  tortellini (any type will do)
1 pint heavy cream
1 8 oz. package of diced ham
1 stick of butter
1 tbs. flour (optional)
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic (I usually use more...)
1 chopped onion (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
5 oz  container of shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

While pasta water is heating to boil, melt butter in large skillet.  Over medium heat saute onions until translucent.  Add garlic and saute with onions being careful not to burn the garlic.

Mix in the ham until heated through, then add the cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If you want to mix a tablespoon of flour to the sauce, it will give it a thicker consistency. Just don't add too much or your sauce will have the texture of gravy. Mix the flour with about 1/4 of the cream and whisk well with a fork before adding to the sauce to avoid lumps.  Sometimes I add the flour, sometimes I don't.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well.  Add parmesan to sauce and allow it to melt over low heat until pasta is ready. Reserve a little parmesan to sprinkle on top when serving. Drain pasta and mix well with sauce in cooking pot.

Buon Appetito!


  1. Beautiful setting for a Fabulous meal. I love the warm inviting colors. I must try this recipe soon.

  2. LeAnne: you have such a fluid style of writing that keeps me engaged and wanting more. Thanks so much for sharing not only your recipe for Tortellini, but your stories as well.

    So glad I stumbled across your gems on Flickr!

    And I'm with you on this new obssession! Whew, I need to NOT need sleep!!!

  3. Thank you all so much. It is pretty much a no fail recipe, unless you are trying to lose weight. LOL


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