Backcountry Tortellini

I spent this weekend hiking in the backcountry between Squamish and Whistler with the outdoors club I’m a part of, and it so happened that I was in charge of dinner for my 3-person ‘food group’. Now, normally the thought of preparing a meal doesn’t make me nervous, but the stakes are a lot higher when you’re feeding people that expect the result to be nutritious, filling, and as high as possible in calories. Bonus points if it tastes good.

On top of that, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re the one carrying this stuff around on your back, so it has to be a) light b) unlikely to leak/melt/get crushed/spoil.
I decided to go with tortellini. Here’s the list of what I used:

2 packages (500 grams) freeze-dried tortellini
about 1 cup of fresh veggies (you could also use dried) – it helps to have ones that don’t require a lot of boiling time
1-2 (cured) chorizo sausage
1 package dried mix (alfredo sauce or whatever strikes your fancy)
plenty of butter (never too much)
parmesan (see above)

And all went pretty well, I’m happy to say. I careened down a couple of slopes only partially intentionally, and avoided a rather large falling rock, but in the end everything and everyone arrived safely to camp.
The mountain you see in the background is Cypress Peak, the view from our little cooking spot on the rocks. All around was snow, which is pretty handy if you plan on cooking anything involving water – you can just boil it and go. If there’s a stream around, even faster. We boiled the tortellini for about 15 minutes, then stored it in a nalgene bottle while we made the sauce. Sauce + butter + water needs to be whisked on high heat for a few minutes, and then you can toss in the rest of the ingredients and add the pasta back in.

It can be hard to judge just how good a meal is when you’re as hungry as we were, but my stomach was happy. The next day we climbed Cypress, propelled by pasta and sunshine.


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