3 November 2012

Silverbeet: Tortellini

I love pasta in all its forms - from packet angel hair that cooks in 2 minutes to a pasta bake that warms and fills... but nothing beats home-made pasta. It really is a completely different experience to dry pasta and can have super simple toppings yet still taste incredible.
 
I sometimes make ravioli with the filling below but had never tried making tortellini before, the 'belly button' shaped filled pasta. It was a learning curve and my first few looked like no belly button I have ever seen (or hope to see for that matter) but it did use up a lot of silverbeet and once I got the hang of it they turned out beautifully! 
 


I used silverbeet that I had blanched and frozen earlier in the week in both the pasta and the filling. When I first made the dough I was a little dissapointed that it wasn't more green but as I rolled it through the pasta maker the colour got stronger. 
The rule of thumb for fresh pasta which doesn't have a filling is 100 grams of flour and 1 egg per person, as this has a filling I am working on a ratio with 300 grams flour for 4 people. I allow approximately 20 small tortellini per person (about 200 grams (uncooked weight) tortellini per person)
 
Ingredients (filled pasta for 4 people)

Dough:
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 grams pureed silverbeet
  • zest of 1 lemon**
**Ottolenghi makes an amazing pasta dough with tumeric and lemon zest so I now add zest to all my pasta dough

Filling:
  • 250 grams ricotta
  • 200 grams fetta
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon flaked salt
  • 150 grams blanched & drained silverbeet (it should feel quite dry)

Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea or flaked salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • cracked pepper to taste

Method:
  1. put flour on a flat surface (or in a bowl if you don't have much space), make a well and add eggs, pureed silverbeet and lemon zest. Mix well until combined then knead until springy, elastic and smooth (not floury and too lumpy), dusting the surface with flour as needed so it doesn't stick
  2. form into a rounded lump, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for half an hour or more **Make your filling during this period, combine all filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well (you still want some texture, not a completely smooth paste) 
  3. cut dough into quarters to make it easier to manage.  Flatten the dough with your fingertips then using a pasta maker work the dough through starting with the widest setting then continuing to feed it through until setting "7" (this is not the thinnest setting as the zest will make the pasta tear if you get too thin). Make sure you continue to dust with flour as you go so the pasta doesn't stick while going through the machine
  4. lay your flattened pasta on the bench and cut into squares of approximately 6 cm
  5. place about 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of each square, dampen the edges and then fold into triangles (don't put in too much filling or they will split when you fold them)
  6. to make the tortellini shape, fold from the base towards the point of the triangle then press the two base corners together (as you go it gets easier and easier with repetition)
  7. cook in a pot of boiling water - they should be done in about 5 minutes
  8. these have so much flavour they only need a really simple sauce, it's your choice but they go well with a drizzle of brown butter & poppy seeds; or I like them with olive oil, garlic, chilli and lemon juice...
  9. warm the garlic, chilli and salt in the olive oil for approximately 2 minutes, you do not want the garlic to "fry" and go brown or bitter, instead you want to infuse the oil with flavour; remove pan from heat and squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon, toss tortellini through the warmed sauce and serve with cracked pepper!


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