Saturday, 9 March 2013
From Italy With Love: Tortelloni pasta filled with cheese and green vegetables ( I Miei Tortelloni verdi alle Erbette e Gorgonzola)
She sat next to her mother. She had to have a small chair, as she was tiny. Watching her mother make pasta (she occasionally made orecchiette or cavatelli) was a special treat. The little girl often played with plasticine... (she had made hundreds of crocodiles and roses) but... watching her mother produce those perfect little ears out of dough was quite something! She was clever and so fast!
She never mastered the art of making "orecchiette"... very ,very hard... but, for as long as she lives, she will never forget her mum's clever hands.
That little girl was me! And yes... I remember sitting next to her and eating little bits of pasta dough, but I never learnt how to make "orecchiette." Deep down, my mum knew that I belonged to a new generation of Italian women, the kind who can walk into a food store and by orecchiette made by a machine which could almost replicate the real thing. Shame the main ingredient is missing: LOVE!
I made ravioli, today... green ravioli, using rocket, fresh spinach and basil to obtain the colour I wanted. The dough turned out a delicate shade of green I loved. My ravioli was big... so big, you would need just three, or four, if you are a bit greedy, to fill you up (lovely starter-primo piatto!)
It was very exciting, as I created this recipe all by myself. If I could have shaken my own hand, I would have done, as my creation was full of flavour and truly delicious!
Please don't be put off by the list of ingredients! The dish is really easy and well worth trying! If I can make it, so can anyone!
Ripieni di Verdure e
For the pasta:
250 g (8 oz) plain flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 handful rocket
3 sprigs basil
1 handful fresh spinach
or some frozen spinach, thawed
100g (about 4 oz) Gorgonzola cheese
1 clove garlic
some chilli pepper
1 handful grated Parmesan
2 handfuls uncooked rocket
a few basil leaves
For the sauce:
8 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 sliced chilli pepper
1/2 kg ( 1lb, 1oz) baby cherry or plum tomatoes
2 tbs Balsamic vinegar
3 handfuls rocket
100 g (about 4 oz) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
To make your pasta, cook the vegetables first, in some boiling water. Drain, then blend, till you get a soft, smooth "cream."
Place the flour on the table, make a well in the middle, then add one egg, the blended vegetables and some salt. Knead till you get a smooth dough. Cover and let the dough rest for twenty minutes.
You are now ready to make your filling. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk until fluffy, then add your Gorgonzola, crumbled, pepper, a handful of rocket, a sprig of fresh basil, and a generous handful of grated Parmesan. I also added a very small clove of garlic, very finely chopped. As you can see... some chopped chilli was also added!
Mix all the ingredients together and... it's made!
You are now ready to roll out your pastry. Cut the dough into several pieces, the size of a small bread roll. Roll each out, into a long shape, trying to obtain, from each piece, four squares (about 15 cm long and wide)
Place a very generous teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each square, then fold the square into a triangle "paint water on two of the sides, to make sure the triangle is sealed so the filling stays inside.
Place the triangle down, on a surface. With some water, join the two corners at the base of the triangle and... ABRACADABRA! You've made a tortellone!
If you follow this recipe, you should get between 14 and 16 tortelloni. It depends on how big or small you make them.
Cook in salted boiling water, for about 5 minutes, then drain.
While your pasta is cooking, make the sauce: put the oil in a pan, heat, then add your chilli pepper and the tomatoes (cut into halves if you are using baby ones-do not squash.)
Five or six minutes later, you can pour your Balsamic in.
Let evaporate, stir and finally add two very generous handfuls of rocket and some basil. After adding salt and pepper, take off the heat, add your cooked ravioloni (be gentle with them!) and serve, with a sprinkling of Parmesan and some crumbled Gorgonzola.
Don't ask me how it tastes, because the flavour is unique and words could not describe how good this dish is. I find it really exciting!
I am loving Balsamic vinegar. Added to a light sauce, it certainly makes it taste truly special!
Look inside my tortelloni!