About Beth

Beth
Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene
Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah
Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug
Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy
Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi
Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan
Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry
Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma
Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim
Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Chicken Liver Sauce | Main | Green Tortellini with Meat and Ricotta Stuffing »

Tortellini with Meat and Cheese Filling

This report is in the nature of a "do-over". My initial attempt was fraught with problems. Here are a few:
1. It was my first time using a new pasta machine - small black fragments appeared on the first few clumps of pasta that I processed through he machine - almost certainly bits of metal filings - not totally unexpected, if you are aware of the problem. You can't wash the pasta machine in soap & water- have to use soft cloths & brushes to clean as best as possible.
2. The filling was a bit lumpy - should have cut up the pork & chicken a bit finer.
3. I had some difficulty producing acceptable pasta - my inexperience.
4. I was unable to master Marcella's directions as to creating the individual tortellini (tortellinus?).
5. My first use of a new pasta machine & I decided to make tortellini. What was I thinking?
There are a few more things I could likely add, but you get the idea. It wasn't pretty.

My second attempt, the "do-over", while not perfect, was a quantum leap forward, for a number of reasons:
1. I was able to obtain "00" flour - much better with which to make pasta.
2. I had some additional experience with the pasta machine in the interim - also, no black fragments in my pasta.
3. I used a food processor- approved by Marcella - to mix the meat in the filling.
4. I had the use of a couple of gadgets - a pasta cutter & spice grater - not available previously
5. While I never did master Marcella's directions I found help on Youtube.

The ingredients, including the newly-purchased gadgets:

IMG_7000a.JPG

First step in making the pasta:

IMG_7006a.JPG

Strips of pasta ready to be cut & filled:

IMG_7009a.JPG

Youtube video:

Finished tortellini:

IMG_7011a.JPG

While I would never claim to be adept at making this pasta, it was an adventure that I enjoyed and the final result, accompanied by a simple tomato sauce with onion and butter AND a couple of glasses of wine, was quite satisfactory.

My opinion of this recipe is a work in progress and largely a reflection of my lack of skill. Is the result worth the time and effort? Will my skills improve? I will try it a few more times - think I know how to make improvements next time at least - pretty sure I ended up using too much flour this time. Hey, how many other people do you know who make tortellini?.


Comments (8)

Impressive Doug!

One of the highlights of our trip to Bologna was when we were taught how to shape Tortelloni in our cooking class - it is one of those things where it really helps to have an expert there to show you exactly where your fingers need to go. Our teacher was a trained pasta maker who makes thousands a day during the Christmas season (when it is a treat in Bologna apparently). She could even form the tiny ones that are used in soup - I fear I'll never master those delicate shapes1

Bravo, Doug! They look well made to me.
I have been secretly relieved not to have drawn tortelloni. My pasta machine is old, so I wouldn't have the issue of metal filings, but I would have had 10 thumbs in the shaping department.
Great find on the video.

Another great effort Doug! I admire your perseverance.

We make tortellini, but not very often I'm afraid. We learned how from the wonderful Simili sisters in Bologna some years ago.

Yours look wonderful!

Irene:

Great job Doug!

Marcella Hazan:

Once again, Doug, I admire your unconquerable spirit. That you were able to make tortellini (singular, tortellino) at all in two tries is remarkable. That is mastering a craft rather than a recipe. I wrote the book long before 00 flour was available in North America, and I taught and made a quantity uncountable of excellent pasta of all types using unbleached all-purpose flour. While I was living in Italy I used 00 of course, but I don't look for it here. I like the firm sinew of American flour, I just let it rest a long while after kneading to relax it.

Is the result worth the time and effort? I don't anything that compares with the rewards of fresh pasta.

Congratulations, so far.

Marcella Hazan:

IMPORTANT!!! Doug & other Pomodori:

I have just noticed the photo of pasta strips laid out to dry. No wonder you had trouble shaping tortellini! Pasta for stuffing must NOT dry, it must remain soft. Check the stuffed pasta note on p.134. This also explains your turning to 00 flour. It makes softer pasta. As I have said in Essentials, the benefits are not all on the side of 00, I like the firmness of American all-purpose flour in pasta. I also reviewed the instructions for making tortellini that you had difficulty executing. They could not be more specific, and from the successful experience of many others who have used them, a very careful reading of each step should lead to reasonable competence in shaping tortellini or tortelloni.

I have put a lot of care into the explanations of complicated procedures. Please study them carefully before proceeding.

Doug:

Ah Marcella,

One week I follow your directions and end up with undercooked beans; the next week I skim some directions & end up with drying pasta. Perhaps next week both of us will be perfect. I know I'm working on it.

Marcella Hazan:

My dear Doug, Is that a typo? Did you mean skim or skip? I may have done you a favor by not worrying too much about whether it takes an hour or two to cook beans. If you are a baker, you go by the clock, if you are a cook, you go by taste.

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