Italians do not stop surprising us how many varieties of their favorite pasta they can prepare. Starting from the “boring” shaped tubes and ending with masterpieces, evoking thoughts not only about eating but also about erotica.
Italian tortellini are an example of the cook‘s ingenuity, bordering on admiration for some anatomical details of the female body. And if you haven’t thought about what the exquisitely shaped small pasta with stuffing looks like, you will find out from the legends about their origin.
The romantic story of tortellini
It is believed that the tortellini originate from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and more precisely for the household claims the town of Castelfranco Emilia, where a festival is even held in their honor.
Like all popular dishes, tortellini have their own legend, not just one. According to the first romantic story, they were invented by a young chef who, while making pasta with stuffing, wrapped it around his little finger and it acquired such a shape that it resembled the navel of his beloved.
According to another version, linking mythology with cooking, the inspiration for this interesting-looking pasta is Venus itself.
The story goes that the goddess of love spent one night in a local inn. The innkeeper was tempted to look through the lock and, amazed by the divine beauty of his famous guest, received inspiration.
Then in the kitchen you sculpted tortellini in the shape of the navel of Venus. There is also a poetic comparison for tortellini, according to which they resemble the bud of a rose. Others resemble them to a ring.
Despite the beautiful-sounding legends, the truth about their origins is probably more prosaic. Culinary sources believe that they have been prepared since the 1950s.
In the beginning, this type of pasta was served in broth. Therefore, it is very likely that the form just turned out to be very practical, because this way the tortellini stick well and there is no danger of them opening when cooking in the broth.
Nowadays, there are several varieties of tortellini according to size. The larger ones are called tortellini and torteloni, and the smaller ones – torteleti.
No matter what the true history of the origin of the “pimples” and what is their birthplace, today they have conquered all of Italy, and their fame reaches far beyond the borders of Botuşa.
How to make delicious tortellini?
As it turned out, the most characteristic feature of tortellini is the shape, and the filling can be very different – meat or meatless.
The dough for them is prepared without yeast or other leavening agent. It can be colored depending on the additives added to it.
For example spinach gives it a green color and tomatoes – red. The dough for the original tortellini is made from durum wheat flour. You can also add a little semolina from the finest grinds. Eggs are added, the ratio is usually 100 grams of flour – one egg. Add salt to taste and a little olive oil and knead.
If your hands are sticky, add more flour. If it cracks and you have already used all the eggs, you can moisten it with a little olive oil. Once it is homogeneous and firm, wrap in foil and leave for about 30 minutes in a cool place to “rest”.
Roll out the dough thinly and cut it into squares or circles, in which a little stuffing is put. They are folded in half to form a triangle or semicircle, which shrinks like a ring and the ends stick together.
For meat stuffing are used chicken, minced meat, ham, mortadella and others. The filling may include cheese, such as parmesan or ricotta. Vegans will also not be isolated from this feast, because tortellini are also prepared with various vegetables – such as spinach, broccoli, mushrooms. The filling can be combined, as a very popular option is ricotta with spinach.
Like all Italian pasta, tortellini are cooked in plenty of water. It is salted, and a little olive oil can be added. Boil for 5-6 to ten minutes, and all should have surfaced.
There is a variety in the sauces with which they are served. They can be served with cream, tomato or mushroom sauce or just with pesto. Sometimes they are served directly in the broth in which they are cooked.
Nowadays, few housewives would take the time to roll out the dough. They are facilitated by the commercially available ready-made tortellini, which have different fillings. All that remains is to boil them, prepare a suitable sauce for them and serve them at the table.
What drinks are tortellini combined with?
The most suitable drink for tortellini is wine, as its type depends mainly on the filling and sauce, and not on the type of pasta itself. Italy is famous for a wide range of classy wines, so there is plenty to choose from. For example, you can serve tortellini with tomato sauce with Chianti, and for those with cheese you can choose Sicilian Chardonnay.
It is not wrong to combine the pasta with cheese with red wine, for example Pinot Noir. If your tortellini are served only with pesto genovese, sauvignon blanc will go well with them, which combines well with tortellini stuffed with vegetables. It is true that the choice of wine depends on the type of food, but the most important thing in this case are your taste and mood, so you may not follow the rules.
Tortellini with minced meat
For the dough:
- 250 g flour
- 70 g semolina
- 3 eggs
- 25 ml of olive oil
For the stuffing:
- 200 g of minced meat
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 30 g of hard cheese
- salt and pepper
- green spices on request
Sift the flour and semolina on a smooth surface, form a well in the middle and add the remaining products. Stir first with a fork, then continue with your hands until you get a firm elastic dough. Leave it for 20-30 minutes. Roll it out, trying to achieve a thickness of 2-3 millimeters.
For the filling, fry the finely chopped onion and grated carrot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Put the minced meat and finely chopped garlic. Fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring.
Season with salt and pepper. Cool the filling and then pass it through a meat grinder to make it softer and more even Grate the cheese on a fine grater Add cheese and green spices of your choice to the filling – for example oregano, basil or parsley.
Cut the dough into 4 × 4 cm squares, place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each. Fold the square into a triangle and carefully seal its edges. Connect two opposite corners to each other.
As the dough dries quickly, it can be periodically moistened with a water brush. They must be well sealed, as there is cheese in the filling, which will melt and it is not desirable to pour into the water during cooking.
Boil 4-5 liters of water and salt it. Release the tortellini and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with tomato sauce or another of your choice and grated Parmesan.
Tortellini with prosciutto and parmesan
For the dough:
- 200 g flour
- 2 eggs
For the stuffing:
- 80 g of prosciutto
- 80 g parmesan
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh basil
- olive oil
Knead a dough of 200 grams of flour and two eggs, adding salt. Leave it wrapped in foil aside for half an hour.
To prepare the filling, cut the prosciutto into small pieces. Add grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil to them. Stir and sprinkle with ground black pepper if desired.
Fill the squared dough with the prepared stuffing and fold them in half. Then wrap them like a ring and glue both ends well. Let them boil in salted boiling water until ready.
The peculiarity of this recipe is that after you take the tortellini out of the water and drain them, you have to fry them briefly in olive oil. If you like the taste of garlic, you can add 2-3 cloves, finely chopped. Serve the tortellini hot. You can sprinkle some fried pieces of prosciutto on top.
Tortellini with spinach and ricotta cheese
- 300 g flour
- 2-3 eggs depending on the size
For the stuffing:
- 600 g spinach
- 400 g of ricotta cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- black pepper
Knead the dough from the flour and eggs. First put two eggs, and if the dough is very hard, add a third. Don’t forget to add salt, you can also add a pinch of sugar. Let the dough rest while you prepare the filling.
Clean and wash the spinach thoroughly. Put it in boiling water for two minutes and then quickly remove it and put in a bowl with ice. When the leaves have cooled, drain them well with your hands and cut them.
In a deep bowl mix the spinach with the ricotta. Add one egg yolk and 50 g of grated hard cheese – for example Grana Padano or Parmesan. Add salt and pepper. Stir the mixture and your filling is ready.
Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut it into squares. Put a spoonful of the filling and fold into a triangle. Glue them in the shape of a ring. Boil the tortellini with spinach and cheese in salted water until they rise.
Tortellini with mushrooms
- 1 package of ready tortellini of your choice
- 150 g of mushroom mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 50 g of butter
- 100 ml. white wine
- 150 ml. liquid cream
- Spices: thyme, basil, oregano, parsley
- 1 tsp. sol
- ground black pepper
The tortellini from the package are boiled according to the instructions on the package. Drain the water and rinse with cold water. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Cut the onion into small pieces.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the onions and mushrooms in it. Add white wine to them and leave for about 2 minutes on low heat. Add the cream and simmer for another 2 minutes.
Add salt and pepper. Put the tortellini in the sauce and stir, leaving them on a low heat for a few minutes. Sprinkle with finely chopped green spices. Serve with a glass of chilled wine.