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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.