Tortellini (Traditional Filled Pasta)

Tortellini are small culinary masterpieces with a welcoming and genuine flavor. This is one of the most famous Italian recipes around.
70 min
0 People
70 min
INGREDIENTS for 0 people
  • 1 lb Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 7 oz pork meat
  • 7 oz ham
  • 3 ½ oz turkey breast
  • broth
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil
  • pepper
  • nutmeg
  • salt

For the tortellini filling:

In a pan, melt the butter then add finely ground pork and turkey breast. Cook for about 15 minutes, then add chopped prosciutto and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Then remove from the heat and cool.
Once cool, add the grated cheese and an egg. Mix until soft and smooth. Add a pinch of salt and nutmeg.

This is the classic tortellini filling, but there are many variations: you can use Mortadella instead of prosciutto, roast veal instead of pork, or hen (or better yet capon) fat in the place of the butter. One of the many variations calls for a filling made entirely from stewed meat with cloves and onion.

For the pasta:

Prepare the pasta doughusing the eggs, flour, salt and olive oil. Let rest under a kitchen towel for about 30 minutes. Then roll out into a thin sheet.

To shape your tortellini, cut the sheet of dough into horizontal slices and then cut vertically, so that you have ¼ in squares. Place a tiny amount of filling at the center of each square and fold into a triangle, sealing the edges. (If the pasta is too dry, brush the edges with a drop of water.)
Squeeze together your thumb and index finger of both hands on either end of the triangle, so that the point is facing upwards. Rotate the tortellini to the right towards your left index finger and place the corners on top of one another until they are united.

Remove the tortellini from your finger carefully and place them on a lightly floured  kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest of the pasta.

Cook tortellini in broth for ten minutes.

Serve hot in a bowl of broth sprinkled with grated cheese.

Chef’s Tips

After having shaped the tortellini, let them rest for a couple of hours before cooking so they harden.

Food History

Although tortellini are undoubtedly a food from Emilia, the origin of this famous pasta dish is unclear. One thing is for sure and that is that tortellini are fairly ancient. There is a recipe for tortelli, larger tortellini, that dates back to the 12th century, while the first recipe for tortellini alla Bolognese comes from 1550. From that moment on, tortellini have held a special place in the cuisine of Bologna.
There are many legends told about this dish: one of the most famous, written by Cerri in the 14th century, recounts that Mars, Bacchus and Venus came down to earth to intervene in the 12th century war between the people of Modena and Bologna. Having arrived at the battle site, the three guests decided to spend the night at an inn in Castelfranco, a small town located in between the two cities.
According to the legend, in the morning, Bacchus and Mars woke up early to visit the battle site, but when Venus awoke, she thought she had been abandoned by her companions. She immediately called the innkeeper to find out where they had gone. The innkeeper arrived to find the goddess of love naked in front of him. The beauty of her body made such a strong impression on him that he created a new shape of pasta that resembled her belly button!

Did you know that…

Traditionally, when cooked in broth, 50 tortellini were served per person?

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