You Should Air Fry Wet Tortellini

The air fryer is the perfect appliance for the discerning stoner. It’s speedy, with a super quick pre-heat time, and every single frozen treat I’ve put into it comes out crispier than its microwaved—or even baked!—counterparts. Pizza rolls, french fries, frozen egg rolls: All come out of the air fryer golden, hot, and munch-able.

Most foods of this nature can be tossed, without further futzing or preparation, into the air fryer’s basket or tray, then removed 10-15 minutes later with excellent results. This is mostly due to the large amount of fat and water present in such snacks, which is—conversely—why tossing a handful of frozen tortellini into the air fryer doesn’t work out that well.

I mean, tortellini that’s air fried from a frozen or refrigerated state isn’t terrible. It’s just dry, with a shiny, bland, cracker-like exterior. It’s almost pleasing, especially if you dip it in tomato sauce, but I wanted something closer to the cheese-crusted fried pasta pocket you’d find on the menu at a sports bar or mid-level sit-down eatery. I did not, however, want to get an egg wash involved.

To me, a good air fryer recipe is all about ease. I want to chuck it in, wait no more than 15 minutes, then put it in my mouth. And while I’m sure the many recipes I saw for “air fried ravioli/tortellini” that involve a three-step breading process taste just fine, they’re not in alignment with my air fryer philosophy. Luckily, I found a compromise—you just need to get them wet.

A quick dip (about three minutes) in some boiling water does two things: it adds moisture to the pasta dough, which prevents it from drying out in the basket, and it gives seasonings (and shaker parmesan) something to stick to.

It’s barely a recipe, which is how I like my air fryer “recipes.” Just boil some water, cook the pasta until it floats, then remove it with a spider (or slotted spoon) and put it in a bowl. Season the tortellini to taste—I used Kraft green-top parm and Lawry’s garlic salt—and give it a toss to coat. Dump the tortellini in an air fryer set to 400℉ for 13-16 minutes, until they are hot, golden, and crispy on the outside. Serve with marinara or some sort of marinara-like dipping sauce (I used pizza sauce).

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