Ricotta and spinach tortelli
- July 2017
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 1 hour 20 min, plus resting
Known as Tortelli maremmani in Italy, this larger version of ravioli has a wide border around the filling which makes the edges good for trapping sauce.
Emiko Davies‘ traditional pasta recipe is a wonderful way to feed the whole family.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 15.4g (7.3g saturated)
- 41.7g (3.4g sugars)
For the pasta
- 400g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 2 medium free-range eggs, plus 4 yolks
For the filling
- 1kg spinach
- 500g fresh, firm sheep’s milk ricotta
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
- 50g pecorino or parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
You’ll also need…
- Pasta machine or rolling pin
- Frilled-edge pastry cutter (or small sharp knife)
- To make the pasta, put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the 2 eggs, yolks and 2 tbsp cold water into the well and use a fork to whisk the eggs, incorporating the flour little by little until you can no longer whisk with the fork. With floured hands, combine the rest of the flour to form a smooth, elastic dough. Wrap in cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
- For the filling, trim away any tough spinach stalks, then cook in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the spinach well, leave until cool enough to handle, then squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Chop finely to give about 300g spinach, then mix in a bowl with the ricotta, egg, grated cheese, nutmeg and salt.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and, on a well floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough at a time (keep the rest covered with a damp tea towel while you work) using a pasta machine or rolling pin. It needs to be thin enough for you to see your hand through it. Cut the dough in half if the pieces get too long to handle. It’s much harder with a rolling pin, but roll from the centre outwards for the best results.
- Working with strips of pasta about 14cm wide and as long as you like, place well moulded balls of filling (about 2 tsp) on the pasta sheet along one long edge, roughly 2cm → from the edge and 4cm apart. Brush a long edge of the pasta with water, then fold the sheet lengthways to cover the fillings and line up the edges. Press the pasta down carefully around each spoonful of filling, pushing out the air (work from the folded side to the unsealed side, one tortello at a time).
- Using a frilled-edge pastry cutter, trim the tortelli on all sides into rough 7cm squares with a 2cm border around the filling. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can cut with a sharp knife and press down along the edges with a fork. This seals the pasta and creates an edge that can hold sauce.
- Line baking trays with baking paper and dust with flour. Put the tortelli in a single layer on the trays. Continue until all the filling/pasta is used up.
- Cook the tortelli in a large pot of simmering, well-salted water for about 5 minutes until al dente. The tortelli will begin to float and puff up slightly. If you taste to check whether they are cooked, try at the edges where the pasta overlaps.
- When cooked, take the pot off the heat, remove the tortelli with a slotted spoon and put onto a clean, slightly damp tea towel or kitchen paper for a second to drain off any excess water. Transfer the tortelli to a large serving plate or distribute among bowls. Top with your choice of sauce or good butter and plenty of grated cheese. Serve immediately.
If you can’t get sheep’s milk ricotta, cow’s milk ricotta is fine. Just make sure it’s firm ricotta. If it’s soft or watery, leave it to drain in a sieve lined with muslin or a clean J-Cloth over a bowl for a few hours.
Tortelli are best eaten fresh, but you can freeze them. Here’s how: blanch in boiling, salted water with a splash of olive oil for 10 seconds. Remove, drain on a damp tea towel, then lay flat on a sheet of foil. Fold up well, put in plastic freezer bags and freeze. To cook, unwrap and boil the tortelli from frozen, as in the recipe.
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