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Crispy pasta dippers with tomato sauce

Serves: 4-6
timePrep time: 15 mins
timeTotal time:
Crispy pasta dippers with tomato sauce
Recipe photograph by Ant Duncan

Crispy pasta dippers with tomato sauce

Your air fryer can do so much more than crisp up chicken and chips. Try these crunchy nibbles at your next do

Serves: 4-6
timePrep time: 15 mins
timeTotal time:

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Sarah Akhurst

Sarah Akhurst

Our Food Director Sarah is a food obsessive, and spends most of her time scoping out the latest food trends, experimenting in her own kitchen, or making her family wait to eat while she photographs every dinner she makes for the 'gram! A complete Middle Eastern food junkie, she is never far from a good shawarma marinade, a pinch of Aleppo chilli or a sprig of dill
See more of Sarah Akhurst ’s recipes


For the dippers
  • 250g fresh tortellini*
  • 50g panko dried breadcrumbs
  • 50g Parmesan*, grated
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • olive oil spray
  • sea salt flakes
For the tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 echalion shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin good-quality chopped tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme

Step by step

  1. For the sauce, heat the oil in a small pan and fry the shallot and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the tomatoes and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the top of the sauce with a paper cartouche (a sheet of crumpled baking paper which allows for more evaporation than a lid) and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until it has reduced and looks thick. Remove the thyme sprig and blitz the sauce using a stick blender. Season well and set aside to cool.
  2. For the pasta dippers, bring a pan of water to a simmer and add the tortellini. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  3. Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together in a shallow bowl. Put the flour in another bowl and season well, then put the beaten eggs in a third bowl. Toss the just-cooked pasta first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, making sure they are well coated. Transfer to a plate and chill until required.
  4. Just before you want to serve the dippers, preheat the air fryer to 180°C. Spray the breadcrumbed pasta with the oil spray and pop in the fryer for 8-10 minutes, until golden and crisp. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve warm, with the room-temperature tomato sauce for dipping.

    *Use vegetarian tortellini and cheese, if required.

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