Dare I say it?
This is the sort of thing the Milk Calendar people should be aiming for when developing and choosing recipes for their calendar.
You read right. Two passing grade recipes in a row. Who'da thunk it?
When you actually read this month's recipe for Chicken and Fresh Spinach Tortellini, you might easily figure out why it works: the dairy component (in this case milk) serves a real purpose. That is the milk is supposed to be there and substituting it for water or stock or wine would probably make the recipe worse.
Milk wasn't used to boil rice. Milk wasn't used as pasta water.
The milk was used for sauce. And not some wretched, bland and pallid imitation of what should have been a bold and flavourful coating. It was a sauce that worked well enough and easily adapted to the cook's preference.
In keeping with the calendar's raison d'être it is an extremely easy recipe. And in keeping with the other recipes, it is designed so as to not offend Canadian's stereotypically timid tastebuds. The "adventurous" additions really aren't that daring: bitter greens (Swiss chard) and bacon (pancetta)--but I'm a half-bacon-fiend who's more than Swiss chard friendly, I went that route.
I made a couple of changes to the recipe--instead of baby spinach, I used grown up spinach (I'm beginning an antipathy for baby veggies--apart from the price, I'm increasingly unconvinced of their flavour) and my dining companion has a citrus allergy, so I didn't use the lemon rind, but to add the teeniest bit of sharpness used a about a quarter tsp of white wine vinegar.
It was a pretty effortless affair and the recipe came together in a rather quick fashion--I think I had dinner on the table within about -45 minutes, from start of prep to dishing out the pasta. To keep it as a one-pot dish, I crisped the bacon in the cooking pot, removed the pieces, but kept the fat in the pot when whisking the flour into Ahe milk. The flavour was pretty good--it would definitely benefit from a bay leaf and the bacon should be manditory--tried it without and it didn't work for me or my friend...and if you aren't making your own stock and like me used an insta-boullion, you may want to keep the bacon fat in the dish because of the lovely all-over depth it added to the dish.