Tortellini, the Italian pasta wrapped meat dish. There is some dispute over the origins of Tortellini between two towns. The towns are Bologna and Modena. Both claim that it originated from them, although no one can be sure.
This dish is steeped in legend, and in one particular legend, it is said that the Goddess Venus came to earth and stayed in an Inn in the town of Castelfranco. It was said that her beauty wasn’t matched by anything on earth.
Later that night, as the innkeeper walks past Venus room. He decides to peer through her keyhole, so he may see her in the flesh. All he saw was her navel but it was told even that was enough! This small view of her flesh inspired him to recreate it in the form of tortellini pasta.
Each year in the town of Castelfranco. They hold a competition which is to carry the tradition on of making tortellini. Pasta chefs compete for the crown of ‘oste’.
They also claim their prize. Which is the responsibility to uphold the tortellini until the competition comes back around again!
Tortellini should be (by traditional standards anyway!) be square in shape and stuffed with a combination of pork, ham, cheeses and nutmeg. I like to make mine with a pastry cutter, this way I know for sure that they are all the same size. Plus they have nice rounded edges to them!
Feel free to use any sauce or broth you like as well! Traditionally they should be served in a light veal broth but it really doesn’t matter.. Well so long as you aren’t competing for the title of ‘Oste’ in Castelfranco that is!
This dish is labour intensive! It takes a while to make all the tortellini as each one is done by hand. With a little practice, you will make these quickly!
This recipe is also quite tricky. I use tomato and chicken to fill my tortellini if you don’t reduce the liquid of the tomatoes enough, your tortenllini can become soggy and will break open. You also need to cook these straight away, otherwise they will become soggy and turn into mush!
Dice the chicken breast small, and also cut the tomatoes into quarters. Cook the chicken off in a frying pan on medium heat.
Wait until your chicken turns white, then add in your tomatoes. Pan-fry the tomatoes on a low heat until the tomatoes have lost there liquid and your mixture is fairly dry. Season with salt and some freshly ground allspice. Allow your mix to cool.
When you mixture is cool slice some basil leaves and mix them in.
Make and roll your pasta though your pasta machine. Make sure you run the pasta through your machine twice on the lowest setting. This is so it doesn’t shrink back.
Using a 2-inch pastry cutter cut out rounds in your pasta dough. You should end up with around 40 to 50 pasta rounds.
In a separate bowl, crack an egg and add in 20ml of water and combine gently with a fork. You will need this egg wash to seal your tortellini.
Spoon approx 3/4 of a teaspoon of your mix into the centre of each pasta round.
Making sure that the filling stays in the middle, pull over the opposite edge and press down to make a pasty shape.
Hold the tortellini upright, fold in one of the semi circles into the middle. brush lightly with the egg wash and fold in the opposite side. Press gently to hold the points in the middle.
Repeat until all your your rounds have turned into tortellini!
place a pan on the stove filled to about 3/4 of way to the top with water. Allow to boil. (you can always boil a kettle to save time!). Add in your tortellini. When your tortellini floats it is cooked! Drain and serve!
To make the sauce, simple add the cream and parmesan to a saucepan. Once the parmesan has melted add in your fresh red pesto.
Add the tortellini to the sauce and combine. Finish off with some fresh basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan cheese and Enjoy!
Let me know what you think of this recipe! Is there something else I could fill mine with, or are you going to try this with a different filling? let me know in the comments below!