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The trouble with most pasta dishes is that they essentially require two or three different recipes.  One for the pasta dough, one for the filling, one for the sauce.  More than once I’ve had one element ruin another (ie the Alfredo sauce that killed perfectly good fettucini.)  So for this exercise in making handmade tortellini, I decided to keep it simple.  I used a pasta dough recipe I had already vetted, and made a very simple sauce from an herb infused olive oil and some chopped garlic.  The only wild card was the filling recipe.  Oh yeah and the whole shaping tortellini thing.

Turns out shaping tortellini is not easy.  It sounds easy – roll out the dough, cut it in squares, and pinch opposite corners together.  Viola, tortellini.  Um, no.  Viola, mostly ugly purse-looking things with a few tortellini stand-ins.  Oh well.  I think you need to make about 300 of these little guys before you really get the hang of it.  Fortunately, this recipe only makes about 30.  So they aren’t pretty, but they were delicious.  The filling recipe is excellent, and makes for a really flavorful and balanced bite.  Yum yum.

On a side note, I desperately need placemats.  This photo looks a little ridiculous without one.  Especially when I tell you that the wood is my kitchen floor, not a table.  Ghetto.  Try not to think less of me :)

Have a great weekend! 

Tortellini Pasta Dough

Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs
Directions
  1. Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.
  2. Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.  Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.

Tortellini Filling

Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cups packed fresh washed, chopped spinach (chop at 1 inch intervals horizontally and vertically)
  • 1 red pepper/capsicum, chopped very finely
  • 100g creamy style feta
  • 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
Directions
  1. Heat a  small amount of cooking oil in a large pan on medium low heat. Throw in the onion and cook until translucent and softened. Lower heat slightly, and add red peppers, and let cook until softened, about ten minutes.  Add spinach, and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor.  Pulse with the feta and parmesan to desired texture.
Sources: Two Spoons and Mario Batali
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