This is a pasta dish I made recently for my Dad’s 80th birthday lunch. It is a regional speciality from his home town of Piacenza, Italy. It highlights the region’s wonderful produce but we can quite successfully reproduce it here in North Queenland, Australia. Tortellini d’Erbetta translates literally to Short Grass Tortellini but of course, we use whatever delicious, leafy greens we have. I like silverbeet.
The cheese/silverbeet ratio is up to you. More of one, less of the other, as you please.
Other hits in my house are my delicious homemade cavatelli pasta and tonnarelli that the kids go crazy for and ask me to make again and again.
The shape of the half moon is how we always make them. How small and delicate you make them is up to your expertise. They taste delicious just the same. I assure you once you try these you will be hooked!
I usually make the filling the day before.
You will need 2 bunches silverbeet which you finely sliced and steam. Then all the water squeezed out by wringing in a clean teatowel ( I had about 450g silverbeet in the end)
600g fresh ricotta
200g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (this is the best parmesan for this recipe, other good parmesan can be used but bear in mind the parmesan is the key to the flavour so get a really good one)
a little freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the filling ingredients.
For the Pasta:
Beat eggs. Heap the flour onto a work surface and make a well. Add into the well eggs and salt. Gradually incorporate the eggs. Knead well. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
Make the sauce or butter or whatever you want to call it while you wait.
10 cloves garlic, chopped very fine
lots of fresh basil, finely sliced
more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Melt butter with garlic allow to heat and flavour. Do not brown garlic
To make the tortellini:
Cut off a small piece of pasta dough and pass through the pasta machine rollers. Fold and roll through again several time until the pasta is smooth and supple. Gradually reduce settings of the rollers until the dough is quite thin, maybe the last or second last setting. Lay the strip of dough onto the work surface. Spoon little mounds, the size of a small walnut, along the length of the dough allow dough to be folded in half lengthwise covering each mound. Press the air out carefully from around the mounds of filling. Press firmly to ensure the tortellini are well sealed. With a pasta cutter or knife cut around each tortellini in a half moon shape. Set aside on a well floured tray while you prepare the remaining tortellini. The leftover dough is reincorporated in with the next lot of pasta dough to be rolled. Continue in this manner until all the pasta or filling is used up.
Now have a large pot of boiling, salted water ready. Place a few (10 or 15) tortellini, depending on the size of your pot into the boiling water. Stir gently so they don’t stick to the bottom and cook until al dente. It will only take a short time, maybe 3-5 minutes. Scoop out with and drain well. Place into warm serving dish, spooning over some sauce, sprinkle of basil and cheese. Keep warm. Continue cooking and dressing the tortellini. Serve and enjoy! Not for the diet conscious!
This served 12 of us generously as a pasta course… but then again, come to think of it we didn’t eat too much else after this!