Mushroom and Cheese Tortellini – Calvin & Hobbes: The Literary Kitchen #16

“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

– Bill Watterson

There are two kinds of people, one who’re Calvin & Hobbes fans and the other who haven’t read the comic at all. About a decade ago, a friend bought a volume of Calvin & Hobbes comics which I read cover to cover; I have been a fan since then. For the uninitiated, the comic is about a 6 year old boy Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes created by Bill Watterson; as far as Calvin is concerned the tiger is real. The comic is a satire taking pot shot at politics, the consumer culture of America, rat race and life in general. Much of it is creators own thought process and in that quote above he has pretty much summed up his idea of life and success.

So what’s this post about? What’s the connection between Calvin & Hobbes and food? Calvin hates food. Not just hates it, he is disgusted by pretty much everything his mom cooks. Most of the times the nonchalant mother doesn’t pay attention to his over the top attempts to avoid food and sometimes she pretends that the food is actually goop from outer space or stewed monkey brains to make him eat (yeah, for some strange reason Calvin digs the idea).

So, the recipe here is Tortellini stuffed with mushroom and cheese and tossed in lemon, butter, and sage sauce.

Mushroom Tortellini, Calvin & Hobbes, The Literary Kitchen


For Tortellini
Flour – 100 gms (I used a mix of whole wheat and maida)
Egg – 1
Oil – 2 tbsp

For filling
Mushrooms – 100 gms (I used wood ear mushrooms but you can use anyone you like. Porcini would go really well)
Cheese – 50 gms (cheddar, parmesan, ricotta)
Garlic – 4 cloves (crushed)
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For sauce
Butter – 100 gms
Juice of half lemon
Sage leaves – 5-6



Mix flour, egg and oil and knead into soft dough.
Roll out thin small discs from the dough.
Keep the filling in the centre and fold the disc over into crescent shape, stick the sides together using egg or a thick paste of flour and water.
Roll the crescent shaped pasta with the filling side at the bottom, stick the two ends together.
Put the pasta in salted boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or till it floats.
Remove from water and toss it in the sauce.

Watch this video to learn how to make tortellini.

For filling
Heat oil in a pan.
Throw in crushed garlic and sauté.
Add chopped mushrooms and sauté till the excess water from the mushrooms has evaporated.
Remove from fire, add cheese and adjust salt.

For sauce
Melt butter in a pan and on a slow flame let it brown.
Add sage leaves and lemon juice.
Remove from fire and toss in the tortellini.

Imagine if you have a 6 year old with an imagination and hate for food like Calvin’s. How would you sell the dish to him? Leave your answers in the comments.


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