Tortellini di Valeggio

DSC01880
Each region of Italy has its own pasta shapes and pasta recipes. Valeggio sul Mincio, a town near Lago di Garda and the city of Verona, is famous for its Tortellini di Valeggio, tortellini made of pasta as thin as a veil with a filling of beef, chicken, and pork. To make them extra delicate, the pasta dough is made with part of the eggs replaced by water. These are similar to agnolotti from Turin (but those also include vegetables in the filling) and tortellini from Bologna (but those only have pork in the filling).

The recipe for tortellini di Valeggio sul Mincio dates back to the 1300s. I made them based on the recipe of Silva Avanzi Rigobello, another wonderful blog in Italian with mostly traditional recipes. The tortellini are cooked in a meat stock. You could also serve them in the stock, or with butter and sage like I did. You can then use the leftover stock to make risotto. This does mean that you can’t use as much salt in the stock as you would for cooking the tortellini in water, so in this case it is a good idea to add salt to the pasta dough. For additional flavor, I made the filling with fat from the stock (that floats on top) instead of olive oil.

The tortellini turned out absolutely wonderful. The combination of meats gives them great depth of flavor. Grazie, Silva! Tortellini are a bit more work to make than ravioli, as you have to fold each tortellino individually, and also with less filling than in ravioli so you have to make more of them (they would be called tortelli rather than the diminutive tortellini if you were to make them bigger). You could of course also make ravioli with the same stuffing. That would be just as delicious, but less authentic.

Ingredients

DSC01833
For the filling

100 grams (3.5 oz) boneless and skinless chicken thigh, cubed

100 grams (3.5 oz) pork shoulder, cubed

100 grams (3.5 oz) stewing beef, such as chuck, cubed

50 grams (1.75 oz) prosciutto, cut into strips

50 grams (1.75 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

25 grams (1 oz) stale bread, cubed

1 clove

80 ml (1/3 cup) Bardolino (red wine)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg yolk

1/2 Tbsp rosemary needles

dash of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 onion, minced

2 Tbsp olive oil (or substitute with the fat from making the stock)

For the pasta dough

2 eggs

300 grams (2 cups) Italian 00 flour

about 50 ml (1/4 cup) water

For cooking and serving

2 litres (2 quarts) meat stock (made from chicken, beef, and pork)

50 grams (4 Tbsp) butter

2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Preparation

DSC01840
Heat the olive oil (or fat from stock) in a casserole. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent.

DSC01842
Add the pork, chicken, and beef, and sauté over medium high heat until the meat has lost its raw color on all sides. Add the rosemary.

DSC01843
Deglaze with the Bardolino.

DSC01844
Scrape with a wooden spatula to include the browned bits into the sauce.

DSC01846
Add the clove, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

DSC01848
Cover and reduce the heat to low.

DSC01850
Allow to simmer over low heat until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Add a bit of meat stock if it becomes too dry.

DSC01853
At the end of the cooking time (it is not very important that the meat is tender, as it will be ground anyway), remove the clove.

DSC01855
Transfer the contents of the casserole to the food processor, including all the juices. Allow to cool somewhat (so the egg yolk won’t be cooked when you add it).

DSC01858
Add the prosciutto, bread, and egg yolk…

DSC01859
…as well as the cheese.

DSC01861
Process with the ‘pulse’ until the mixture is homogeneous, but not pureed. It is nice to have some texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remember that the filling of tortellini and ravioli should always be slightly over-seasoned to avoid that your tortellini will end up tasting bland.

DSC01865
Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour to firm up.

DSC01866
Make pasta dough and roll it out as thinly as you can. Cut the pasta dough into 5 cm (2 inch) squares, and put a small ball of filling (about 1/2 teaspoon) on each square.

DSC01868
Fold each square into a triangle, and seal the edges without trapping any air inside.

DSC01869
Fold the tortellini around your finger, then fold it backwards. (That last step is not really needed.)

DSC01872
Arrange the tortellini on a surface sprinkled with semolina flour in a single layer.

DSC01873
To cook, bring the stock to a boil. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the sage. When the stock boils, add the tortellini and cook them for a couple of minutes (depending on how much you dried them).

DSC01876
Transfer them to the butter and sage with a slotted spoon.

DSC01879
Toss the tortellini in the butter and sage to coat them on all sides.

DSC01880
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with freshly grated parmigiano.

Wine pairing

This is great with a Bardolino, the local red wine that is also used to make the filling. Bardolino is a light red wine that is best when slightly chilled (15ºC/59ºF).

Flashback

DSC02239
These spicy shrimp trackers with tuna tartare are nice as an appetizer or as a fancy hors d’oeuvre at a cocktail party, making use of shrimp flavor that comes out of the heads and shells that you would normally throw away.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Tortellini di Valeggio

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s