Last month I posted a recipe for Pistachio Cream Sauce with Pancetta and Peas. The sauce goes incredibly well with veal tortelloni that I make. I felt that I would be remiss in not including the recipe for these incredible pasta morsels. I admit that making homemade tortellini is labor-intensive and difficult for some. But for those of you brave souls out there willing to try their hand at it, it can be extremely rewarding. It’s a gastronomic experience that is seldomly found outside of Italy.
Some of you out there know the difference between tortellini and tortelloni. But for those of you who don’t, tortellini are traditionally small meat-filled pasta rings and tortelloni are large ricotta-filled pasta rings. So, you’re supposed to stuff tortelloni only with ricotta. I’m going against convention here by making the larger tortelloni with a meat filling. That’s mainly because I’m lazy and making the larger tortelloni cuts down the amount of time spent in the kitchen. The Tortelloni Police would say that such a large amount of meat filling in the pasta would overwhelm your palate. I beg to differ. As I get older in life, I find that convention can be creatively restraining. Try serving these tortelloni with Pistachio Cream Sauce with Pancetta and Peas and you be the judge.
Difficulty Rating: Difficult
Makes approximately 50 to 60 tortelloni (6 to 8 servings).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2-pound ground veal
4 slices mortadella (3-ounces), outer casing strings removed and roughly chopped
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon
24-ounces fresh ready made pasta sheets or pasta sheets made from Pasta Dough recipe
Special Equipment Needed: 3-inch round cookie/biscuit cutter.
Step 1: Cook the Veal: Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the veal and break the meat up into smaller pieces with a fork while cooking. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes or until the veal is cooked through. Drain any excess liquid from the meat.
Step 2: Make the Veal Mixture: Place meat mixture, mortadella, egg, pepper, and nutmeg in a food processor and process until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt as desired.
Step 3: Cut Pasta Rounds: Have a small bowl of water ready. If using fresh pasta dough, Place a pasta sheet on a wooden board or flat surface. Keep remaining pasta sheets moist by covering with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Using the cookie cutter, cut circles of pasta.
Step 4: Place Filling on Pasta Circle: Place 1 level teaspoon of filling in the center of each pasta round.
Step 5: Fold in Half- Moon Shape: Using you finger, lightly wet the bottom half of the round with water. Fold dough over the filling and press the edges together to seal, forming form a half-moon shape.
Step 6: Fold Top Over Filling: Lightly fold the top half over again.
Step 7: Wrap Around Index Finger: With the flap side out, wrap the tortellini around your index finger. Lightly wet the ends with water and pinch together forming a belly-button shape. Repeat process using the remaining pasta and filling.
Make Ahead Tip: Tortelloni can be made several weeks ahead of time and frozen. To freeze, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place tortellini in a single-layer. Place baking sheet in freezer for several hours. When tortellini are frozen, place in plastic storage bags and return to the freezer.