Ravioli and all other shapes of stuffed pasta are my signature dish, so I am always excited when I see a new traditional recipe that I did not know yet. Like the savoy cabbage tortelli I saw on Simona’s blog Grembiula da Cucina. She is from the region of Reggiana, part of Emilia-Romagna, and writes about the recipes from her region. Tortelli are the typical stuffed pasta shape from that region, but if you prefer the recipe would also be fine for regular square ravioli. I followed Simona’s recipe almost exactly, except that I braised the cabbage rather than boiling it. In this way, more of the flavor is preserved. These tortelli are very flavorful and worth the effort. Once you’ve made your own stuffed fresh pasta, you’ll never go back to the supermarket version (which often tastes like cardboard).
Makes about 40 tortelli
250 grams (.55 lb) cleaned and shredded savoy cabbage
1 clove garlic, minced
100 grams (3.5 oz) pancetta, minced
1 shallot, minced
100 grams (a bit less than 1/2 cup) ricotta
20 grams (4 Tbsp) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1 Tbsp olive oil
some milk (or white wine or water)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh pasta dough from 3 eggs and about 300 grams (2 cups) Italian 00 flour
butter and freshly grated parmigiano, for serving
Remove the tough central rib from the cabbage leaves, and shred the cabbage. You will need 250 grams of cabbage after cleaning.
Mince the shallot, pancetta, and garlic.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta mixture.
Stir over medium heat until the shallot is soft.
Add the shredded cabbage, and season with a bit of salt.
Stir until the cabbage is coated with oil.
Now add some milk (or white wine or water)…
…and cover. Braise the cabbage over medium-low heat until it is tender but firm to the bite…
…which will take about 25 minutes. Stir regularly for even cooking. Allow the cabbage to cool somewhat.
Combine the cabbage with ricotta and freshly grated parmigiano in a bowl.
Stir to mix. Then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, remembering that tortelli filling tasted by itself should always be slightly more salty than you think because it will seem less salty inside the tortelli.
Cover the filling and allow to firm up in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, make the pasta dough, allow it to rest, and roll it out very thinly. Cut it into squares of about 6 cm (2 1/2 inch), and put a teaspoon of filling on the center of each square.
Fold each square into a triangle and seal by pressing with your fingers, making sure there is no air trapped inside a tortello.
Wrap the triangle around your finger and press the two angles together to obtain the shape of a tortello.
Repeat this until you have used up all of the dough. You can find more tips on how to make stuffed pasta here.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the tortelli.
Meanwhile, melt some butter.
The tortelli only need a couple of minutes. Lift them out of the water with a strainer, and add them to the melted butter.
Sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano once you have lifted all of the tortelli out of the pot.
Toss to coat the tortelli with butter and parmigiano.
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated parmigiano.
Just like each region in Italy has its own recipe(s) for stuffed pasta, each region also has its own ragù. The one from Liguria is called il tocco and it has pine nuts and dried porcini mushrooms in it.