Tortelli Piacentini with Ricotta & Spinach Filling

I am coming back after a long break, but I am going to share with you something special today. I have been fortunate enough to receive this Tortelli recipe from my Italian friend, Roberta, who got it from her mother-in-law from Piacenza. This is a second recipe on this blog straight from a real Italian home, and,  like the wild mushroom risotto, I will treasure it forever. Recipes from real people from my life have a special place in my heart, and I will give them to my children, and hopefully my grandchildren as well. 

We have this really nice tradition with Roberta, where we invite each other alternately for lunch every Thursday, one cooks, the other brings home made dessert, and we talk for hours. On one of those dates, she served Tortelli, and I was in love both from the first sight and the first bite. We made another date to make them together, and it was one of the best afternoons of my life. No kidding! We had lots of fun braiding them (I have to say I was proud of my manual skills), and then we ate hundreds of them :-).

They are the softest, precious little things. This is my favourite kind of pasta, not only because of the shape, but the filling is just so delicate, and creamy. Butter and sage sauce is just perfect, because it does not take away any of the delicate Tortelli flavour. 

Ingredients (3-4 people):

Pasta fresca/dough
  • 400 gr all purpose flour 
  • 4 eggs

  • 200 gr raw spinach 
  • 300 gr Ricotta
  • 60 gr Mascarpone 
  • 100 gr Parmesan or Grana padano
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • Salt to taste 

Begin with making the pasta fresca. Sieve the flour into a bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and mix the dough together until combined. You can use a stand mixer to do that. Cover with cling foil and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the filling. Place the spinach in a large frying pan, add 1-2tbsp of water and cook it until it's soft and water is evaporated. Cool down completely, then squeeze the excess water, and chop it finely. Place the spinach in a bowl, and add the cheeses, the egg yolk, and salt, and mix it all together to combine. Cover the bowl with a cling film, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

When the filling is ready, take the dough out, and let it rest for 5 minutes on the counter. Then roll it out thinly (you can use pasta machine for that), and cut medium size squares or circles (using ravioli stamp or cutter) about 5x5 cm. Put a dollop of the filling on each, and fold the pasta pinching the sides like a braid. This is hard to explain, so watch this video to learn how to make it.
Cook in boiling salted water for about 30 seconds from floating to the top. Drain and serve with melted butter and sage, and a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.



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