many people like crafting because it’s got a soothing effect on them to do something with their hands, to be totally absorbed by a manual task. it gives them peace of mind. it’s not entirely different what i like to do: shape food things. like pasta.
so far, i’ve only ever tried ravioli (which is, admittedly, no rocket science…). to shape some pretty tortelli isn’t really as tricky as it looks, though, either. it just needs some patience and love. for the filling, i reminded myself of a trip to parma, italy, a few years back, where i had tortelli alla zucca (pumpkin). pumpkin filling in pasta is always, by nature, slightly sweet and not very fragrant. i like it – once a season. but i didn’t want to overdo the sweetness… so i added ricotta to the pumpkin mash and some finely grated parmiggiano. a real italian experience it was.
tortelli alla zucca
1 cups pumpkin mash (i made mine a day in advance)
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
generous pinch ground musk
2 pasta pastry packages, pre rolled out (if you want to make the pastry from scratch, here’s how)
some flour for dusting
1 egg white, with a bit of water
salt for cooking
1 shot extra virgin olive oil
handful sage leaves, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. butter
generous pinch ground musk
pinch fleur de sel
freshly grated parmesan cheese
combine the pumpkin mash with the ricotta, parmesan and egg and season with salt, pepper and some musk. lay the pasta pastry out on a floured surface. cut into equal sized squares of about 5×5 cm. place a teaspoon (nut-sized) of the pumpkin mash filling in the center of each pastry square. shape the tortelli (i recommend watchin this video, though it’s in italian… just go to 2’46”, that’s where they start with the shaping). proceed until all the pastry or all the filling is used up.
for serving, cook the tortelli briefly (2-3 minutes, or until they appear at the surface of the water) in well salted water. drain and immediately add a shot of extra virgin olive oil, so that the tortelli won’t stick together. in the meantime, prepare the beurre noisette: simply heat the butter, very slowly (!) in a small saucepan. i usually let it sit on the lowest heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tiny brown dots form and the butter takes on a nutty smell. add a bit of fleur de sel, some musk and the sage leaves. fry the sage leaves for a minute, until they’re crispy. arrange the tortelli on a plate and pour the browned butter of them. decorate with some parmesan cheese if you like and a fresh sage leaf. serve immediately.
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