My children, who are two and five, eat out with us a couple times a month, but we don’t have an old-school Italian local, so I decided to come up with my own version of tortelli alla panna for them at home. It’s springier and a little lighter than my childhood staple, with sugar snap peas fresh from the greenmarket and a generous hit of lemon juice. I substituted soppressata for the prosciutto because my kids love it and we always have it around; any dry cured sausage or prosciutto will work just fine. —Merrill Stubbs
2 hungry adults or 4 kids
crème fraîche (you can use sour cream in a pinch)
grated Parmesan, plus more from serving
freshly ground black pepper
sweet soppressata (you can also use salami, or really any dry sausage), sliced into 1-inch-by-1/8-inch strips
sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Finely grate the lemon peel and put the zest in a medium bowl. Squeeze the lemon and add 2 tablespoons of its juice to the bowl. Whisk in the crème fraîche, Parmesan, a couple pinches of salt, and black pepper to taste.
Set a sauté pan over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the olive oil to the pan; after about 30 seconds add the soppressata. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, giving the sausage an occasional stir, until it starts to crisp. Add the sugar snaps to the pan and toss through. Once the sugar snaps turn bright green (about a minute), remove the pan from the heat.
Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions (usually about 3 minutes), making sure not to overcook it. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the tortellini well.
Set the pan with the sugar snaps and soppressata over medium-low heat and tip in the tortellini and the crème fraîche mixture. Gently fold everything together until well combined and heated through. If it looks at all dry, add a spoonful or two of the pasta water. Serve right away in shallow bowls with a shower of grated Parmesan.