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Grand Prize Winner; found in Southern Living, September 1998. Have not allowed for chilling time of 1 hour.
- 2 (9 ounce) packagesrefrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
- 1 (24 ounce) bottle peppercorn ranch dressing, divided
- 1 -2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 -2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs
- 3⁄4-1 cup mild chunky salsa
- 3⁄4-1 cup chpd fresh cilantro
- 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- fresh cilantro stem
- Cook tortellini according to pkg directions; drain and cool.
- Whisk together 2 cups dressing, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and eggs in a large bowl until blended.
- Add tortellini, and let stand 10 minutes.
- Drain & dredge in breadcrumbs; place on baking sheet.
- Chill at least 1 hour.
- Stir together remaining dressing, salsa and cilantro; chill.
- Pour oil into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°F.
- Fry tortellini, in batches, until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Serve with dip; garnish, if desired.
- NOTE: To make ahead, fry tortellini according to directions; drain and place on baking sheet. Keep warm in 200F oven for 2 hours.
I included this recipe on the buffet at a recent finger food / appetizer party. They were easy to prepare the night before and reheat on a baking sheet just before the party. The dip is the perfect creamy, but spicy compliment for these crispy on the outside, cheesy on the inside treats.