First off, Merry Christmas everyone. It’s the time of year of full houses, traveling and making overly complicated things in the kitchen. I, for one, decided to take on tortellini since I purchased the fancy KitchenAid pasta attachments — and need to justify that purchase with the wife.
While it turned out better than I could have hoped, and was probably one of the best things I have made all year, the 3-4 hours I spent making it was borderline not worth it.
I think what would make homemade tortellini worth the effort is if your family chipped in, hence why it is a perfect holiday treat. With my wife on baby duty while I made them on Sunday, that placed the duty straight on my shoulders. I was having daydreams of being surrounded by old Italian women folding and stuffing tortellini faster than I could blink.
Instead, there was Doug in the kitchen on a stool slowly trying to figure out the best way to wrap the tortellini so they don’t look like hot garbage. I am happy to report after 20 or so wraps, I finally figured it out. It did take looking up how they are actually supposed to look instead of just winging it like I do with most things.
If you start with a ricotta base, the sky’s the limit with tortellini stuffing. You just have to remember every blob you put inside needs to be minced pretty well to fit. I went with a pretty classic stuffing of ricotta, parmesan and sweet Italian sausage. If I make them again, I might add some baby portabella mushrooms and red chili for a kick.
The soup recipe I went with is pretty basic but turned out phenomenal. I forgot to pick up an onion while I was at the store and had my lazy pants on, so I went with dried onion. To be honest, I think I will choose dried onion in the future as well because it brought the onion flavor more to the forefront, and I’m not shy when it comes to that flavor.
If you end up trying this recipe, you will be in for a treat. Just make sure to have some family and friends over to help.
Maybe a bottle of Vajunka to pass around as well. ‘Tis the season.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Combine all ingredients into a stand mixer and set on low using a dough hook until it comes together in a large ball.
2. Roll out your dough either by hand or by machine. If using a machine, cut your dough into fourths to make it easier to handle.
3. Cut into 3- or 4-inch rounds with a round cookie cutter. Keep well floured or they will stick together.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 package sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained
1. Mix all ingredients together in stand mixer or by hand.
2. Brush water with your finger on the bottom half of a round and fold over to seal. Fold back around your finger and turn down the edge to form a tortellini.
3. Set aside on a cutting board well floured or they will get soggy and sticky.
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans chicken broth
1-3/4 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2-1/4 teaspoons minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
1. Stir in garlic and onion into the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted and tortellini are tender.
2. Serve with cheese if desired.