Preparation - challenging
Prep: 50 min -
Cook: 40 min (drying) -
Total: 1 hour 30 min
Yield: Serves 4 - 6
There is a great deal of controversy over the origin of these little dumplings; the cities of Modena and Bologna in northern Italy have both claimed title to their "birth." Regardless of the outcome of this "battle of the tortellini," the winners will be your family and guests. They are worth the extra time necessary to make them. Don't you want to find out what the fuss is all about?
Like ravioli and cannelloni, tortellini can be stuffed and sauced with a variety of savory concoctions, such as chicken with cream sauce . The basic recipe follows.
Order of Preparation:
Make the filling and refrigerate.
Make the pasta dough and the tortellini.
Make the sauce and cook the tortellini.
1. Make the pasta sheets following the basic recipe. If you are using a pasta machine, stop at the next-to-last setting on the rollers. If rolling by hand, roll the dough as thin as possible.
Keep the dough from drying out by covering 1/2 with a slightly damp towel while rolling the other 1/2. Keeping the dough soft facilitates the sealing of the edges. Also, adding a tablespoon of olive oil or milk to the basic recipe helps soften the dough for easier sealing. (ALTERNATIVE: You can also use 'pot sticker skins' to skip the pasta sheets.)
2. Cut circular disks about 2 inches in diameter from the sheet of dough using a round cutter or a glass. Put a small amount of filling in the center of each disk. Try 1 or 2 at the start to get a feel for the right amount of filling to use. Once you've got it, you've got it.
3. Don't let the dough dry too much as it makes it harder to seal the edges. To make the sealing easier, dip your finger into a glass of warm water and wet the edge nearest you.
4. Fold the dough toward you until the two edges almost meet. Press down firmly along the rounded edge to seal in the filling.
5. Hold the filled and sealed piece of dough between your thumb and index finger.
6. Fold it around your finger and bring the two ends together.
7. Press the two ends together to seal (right hand); fold the top edge down (left hand).
Set the tortellini on a clean towel or a cookie sheet as you make them. They can be cooked at once or allowed to dry for 30 to 40 minutes (turn them once or twice so they dry evenly). If they are to be cooked later in the day, they should be refrigerated. The tortellini can be frozen and bagged.
8. If the tortellini are to be cooked at once, drop them a few at a time in plenty of boiling, salted water. If the tortellini are cooked directly after making them, they will cook in about 4 to 5 minutes. You can test by scooping one onto a plate and cutting off a small edge of dough with a fork. If they are done, it will cut easily.
Photos and text from: Pasta Tecnica Pasquale Bruno, Jr. Contemporary