Monday, December 10, 2012

Rictotta and Olive Tortellini

Ricotta. Or as I refer to it. The forgotten cheese. Why you may ask? Well, because whenever I get an impulse to buy ricotta it inevitably ends up getting pushed to the back of my fridge and forgotten, until I find it and ask myself, "what am I supposed to do with this?". Ricotta is fine, its not the greatest cheese that has even been crafted, but it does have some great uses. I've added ricotta to a delicious cake, I've even made gnocchi. It seems as if everytime I buy this cheese I am stuck wondering what to do with it. So when life gives you ricotta I say make tortellini, or ravioli. 

I made homemade pasta and mixed together the ricotta with some basil and Kalamata olives then got to work filling and shaping the tortellini. I usually make ravioli, but I wanted to try to make tortellini. It took a few duds to get the shaping correct. Trial and error. Don't worry you'll get the hang of it. Sure you may have a few odd shaped pieces, but that doesn't mean they are any less delicious. 

Homemade Pasta
Adapted from Trattoria Grappolo (aka one of my favorite restaurants)

5 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups AP flour

1) Beat together the eggs, salt, and olive oil and set aside
2) You can either do this by hand or use a food processor. I've done both. The food processor is a lot quicker, but sometimes I don't want to wash all those dishes. 
3) If using food processor add the flour and with the machine on add the egg mixture and pulse until combined and a dough has formed. 
4) If mixing by hand make a mound of flour and then make a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the center and slowly incorporate the dough into the egg mixture and knead until mixture is combined
5) Divide the dough into 3 balls and wrap with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. 
6) Set up your pasta machine and get the dough out and start rolling it out into the desired thickness and cut and shape into desired shape

Olive, Ricotta, and Basil Filling
Adapted from Cook with Jamie

Bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped, divided 
9 oz of ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 cup of Kalamata olives
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or sliced
14 oz of fresh tomatoes, or use canned (but use really good quality here)
Balsamic vinegar

1) Mix together the ricotta, nutmeg, olives, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and half of the basil in a bowl

2) Have pasta rolled out into 4-inch squares and the place a small amount of filling into the pasta and shape into tortellini. You will have to practice this a few times before you get it right. 

3) When the pasta are filled place them on a sheet pan with a liberal dusting of flour to prevent them from sticking. You can cook now, or place in the fridge until ready to cook. (These are best the same day)

4) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with lots of salt
5) While the water is coming to a boil begin making your sauce bu adding some olive oil and butter to a pan then add in the garlic and the remaining basil, then add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes

6) Add the tortellini to the water and cook for about 2-3 minutes then drain them, reserving some pasta water if needed for the sauce.
7) Add the tortellini to the sauce and let them cook in the sauce for a minute and toss with some more Parmesan if desired, and add pasta water if sauce is too thick

8) Add to a plate and enjoy!

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