Sweet Potato Tortelli

Gwen Ashley WaltersJanuary 1, 2013
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Smack dab in the middle of a meaty barnyard menu filled with moo-ers, cluck-ers and squealers stands a lone vegetarian dish that even carnivores clamor for: sweet potato tortelli ($12, lunch/$15, dinner).

Maybe the appeal resides in the rich mouthfeel and mercurial flavor, alternating between sweet and savory. Maybe it’s the fresh egg pasta, handmade and extra tender from a dose of low-gluten cake flour usually reserved for pastries. Or maybe it’s the six big pillows of pasta – filled with honeyed sweet potatoes mixed with ricotta – floating in a silky bath of beurre monté, a fancy French name for creamy, emulsified butter. It’s likely all of those reasons, plus the addition of an umami punch from roasted cremini and oyster mushrooms, a modest hit of parmesan, a wee bit of wilted spinach, and the final gilding of crushed, toasted hazelnuts and minced chives.

The only thing that could improve the tortelli is a side of bread to sop up the butter sauce remnants. No one can accuse The Arrogant Butcher of not putting serious thought into the dish, even if it is the sole vegetarian entrée. Chef Andrew Ashmore, who garnered national attention when he was nominated as a James Beard Foundation Rising Star in 2011, says, “We’re very proud of the fact that we take care of all our guests, so if a vegan wants a dish – and this one’s not vegan because of the butter, cheese and honey – we’ll create something else on the fly.”

Funny, that doesn’t sound very arrogant at all.

Arrogant Butcher
2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix

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