Tortellini: the best way to avoid writing that essay…
One of the best things about having a pasta machine is that now I can create my own fillings – the possibilities are endless. Making your own filled pasta is ridiculously time-consuming but well worthwhile if you have an hour or two to spare (or even if, like me, you don’t have the time to spare!)
First you need to make your pasta dough, you can use your own favourite recipe if you have one. To make enough tortellini for 2 I used 300g 00 pasta flour and 3 eggs. This does leave a little leftover pasta dough which can be used the next day. You probably could get by with 200g of flour and 2 eggs if you’re less greedy than I am 🙂
Mix the flour and the eggs and knead until the dough is smooth – I usually add a little water to make the dough more workable. Wrap the dough tightly in cling film and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.
Now it’s time to roll out your dough – ideally you need a pasta machine to make these as the pasta needs to be very thin to avoid the cooked tortellini being too doughy. Keep rolling the pasta until your machine is on the thinnest setting (see Jamie Oliver’s website for helpful pasta tips).
When your dough is rolled, cut out circles (I used the top of a glass as a guide – believe it or not amongst all my kitchen utensils I don’t have a plain round pastry cutter). Place a small teaspoon of filling onto each circle – not too much, or you’ll find it very difficult to seal the edges.
Now comes the magic.
Moisten the edges of each disc and carefully fold each circle in half and seal the edges. Gently press out any air bubbles, then press down firmly at the edges. Hold the tortellini with the curved edge at the top. Use your thumb to press the filling upwards whilst folding the curved edge upwards. Bring the two corners together and press firmly to join them. The process looks a little something like this:
Pop the pasta into boiling salted water and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and toss in a little olive oil. Serve with parmesan (or a vegetarian alternative). Here is the filling that I used, I added a little lemon zest when I served the pasta to complement the fresh flavours of the filling:
Minted pea and goats cheese pasta filling
1 cup frozen peas
1 clove garlic
1-2 tsps finely chopped mint
1 small block goats cheese (about 125g)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook peas enough to defrost them, but don’t overcook (I put mine in the microwave for a couple of minutes with a little water to steam).
2. Use a hand blender or food processor to blend all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.