They are mostly popular in the Emilia-Romagna Region, and are stuffed with many different combinations; spinach and ricotta, veal and mortadella, pumpkin, or Swiss chard. They are usually served with the traditional ragu, or the way I ate them, with butter and sage leaves (see below photos). –Pumpkin stuffed Tortelloni are served with a gorgonzola sauce…. (note to self: make pumpkin tortelloni with gorgonzola sauce immediately!)
(pictured here are the tortellini I stalked in Bologna)
The Tortelloni I ate in Italy were homemade by Gio’s grandmother, Pina. They were light, feathery and stuffed with ricotta, spinach and a touch of nutmeg.
While in Italy I became shamelessly addicted to Tortelloni. I have lost family and friends over my addiction and I have no intention of quitting. Tortelloni will always come before loved ones and I keep a stash of them under my bed. So there.
Today I attempted to make them like Pina, ha ha ha. Not a chance. I gave myself an “A” for effort and a “B” for the final project because they were no way as good as the ones Pina made, not even close to the flavor or texture, but I did buy an expensive ricotta at Wholefoods (didn’t make my own this time) and that helped bring their flavor up a notch. Don’t get me wrong, they came out good, and my dinner guests loved them, but when you’ve had the best, how can you possibly compare?
(These are the Tortelloni I had in Pavullo, oh my God, take me back.)
I am not going to give a straight recipe here because most of you can find a good pasta dough recipe on line. –It is basically eggs, flour and semolina.
The filling I used today was ricotta and chopped spinach. Make sure you squeeze all the water out of the spinach and then chop it fine. After mixing it with the ricotta add nutmeg. Place the mixture inside a sieve and let it drain for an hour or so, you want the ricotta and spinach mixture to be as dry as possible. That’s all you do for this filling.
The other filling I made was the traditional veal and mortadella found in Bologna. I sautéed ground veal with nutmeg, salt and pepper and finished off with white wine and reduced it. I then ground it in the food processor with chunks of mortadella. I added one egg, a touch of parmesan and mixed, then chilled it.
The forming of the Tortelloni is a process and is best shown in the following photos.
Roll out the dough thin (not too thin) and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Place small dabs of your filling inside the center of the square and bring one corner to the other and form a triangle and secure by pinching down firmly. You might need to use a bit of water on the edges if your dough is dry. Bring the two points together as if wrapping it around your finger and pinch. Fold back the point at the top.
They are fun to make, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be whipping them out as quickly as a resident of some beautiful town in the Emilia-Romagna region.