a home cook with notions & an appetite
These are actual tortellini made by my hands. For real. As you may have already surmised from the photo, I’m not an Italian Nona keeping a blog for grins, but I’m still pretty proud for my first stuffed homemade pasta outing. What brought me here? The evils of Amazon, of course.
Oh, you don’t regularly stalk your Amazon Wish List? I suppose that’s a strategy one could take, but then how would you know that the pasta attachment for your Kitchen Aid mixer had just dropped an additional $30 and should be purchased right this very second? I’m sure this is a very helpful service that Amazon offers and is not in any way electronic peer pressuring. They’re my friends, after all. Would I trust non-friends with my credit card information?
I promise that we’ve been wanting to make fresh pasta for a while and had learned a bit more about using the Kitchen Aid attachment in a class given by the chef at Latitude 41 last year. So what to make after we’d done a test batch of linguine? Fresh Ricotta Tortellini from Bon Appétit’s Italian Issue last year. On a weeknight no less (that part was a bit crazy).
The ingredients couldn’t be simpler:
Everything easily sourced at the mega-mart. No semolina or even 00 flour for this. Just plain old all-purpose flour.
To make the filling (and you want to do this first, it needs to be chilled), everything is just mixed in a bowl together by hand:
It took longer to grate the Parmesan than to mix the filling. Once it was mixed, I covered it with plastic wrap and threw it into the fridge.
It was time to mix the pasta dough. The Kitchen Aid isn’t just a motor for the pasta-maker attachment, it is actually a mixer. True fact. So into the bowl went the flour, whole eggs and sea salt with the dough hook. Basically, the machine did the work for about 5 minutes until I had a ball of dough. Once I had the ball, I did some kneading by hand on my well-floured board until the dough came together (it’s sort of just loosely together out of the mixer) as a solid hunk of dough. Once that was done, I cut the dough into 4 pieces and wrapped it in plastic. Into the fridge it went for 30 minutes:
I know, a 30 minute wait already and I’m doing this on a weeknight. Don’t worry, it gets crazier.
I don’t have action shots of what it took to get these sheets of pasta because it takes two of us right now, a lot of coordination and a ton of flour (we were more than a bit dusty when we were done). These are from one of the quarters that went through the roller on progressively smaller settings until we got to the 5 setting. I know this shows wrinkled sheets, but these were the first ones. We got better.
To make the tortellini, I cut circles out of the dough using a 3-inch biscuit cutter. I was afraid I would throw away dozens of tortellini before I even got one right, but this was much easier than I thought (the magazine had a nice guide). The keys are simple – using the egg white on the edge of the circles and not over-stuffing the tortellini. Rounded teaspoon does not mean heaping teaspoon. When I’d made my half moon of stuffed dough, I thought of pushing the filling towards the middle and folding up the edges like a hat rim. Once that was done, all I had to do was use a little more egg white to secure the outer arms together:
An hour later, we had an entire sheet pan of these. It wasn’t even 50 of them, but I already said I wasn’t an Italian Nona, right? I did these all with my own fingers! Yes, these are sitting on even more flour. The good news is that with a large pot of boiling water, we were only minutes away from enjoying our labor. Once we put the tortellini into the water, we only had to wait for them to float to be done. This took less than 3 minutes for the entire batch. We finished this with a simple topping of melted butter and Parmesan cheese and enjoyed the freshest tortellini one could possibly have…even if it was a worknight.