In northern Italy there is a big valley, throughout which runs the biggest Italian river, the Po. The eastern side of this valley is called Emilia Romagna, the homeland of fresh pasta.
The art of fresh pasta has spawned an infinite variety of Italian dumplings, the king of which being the Tortellini.
Small dumplings stuffed with a many different fillings, from pumpkin paste to prosciutto and cheese. The usual way of eating them is in the Italian soup, brodo (or broth in English), often made with chicken or just vegetables. The chef Massimo Bottura, from L’Osteria Francescana, one the top restaurant in the world, proposes a different way of consuming Tortellini, a way that highlights another regional superstar, Parmigiano Reggiano.
Here is how we have tried to recreate this signature dish from chef Bottura.
- 400 gr of white flour
- 4 fresh eggs and salt.
- 100 gr pork
- 35 g Prosciutto di Modena (may be hard to find, any other prosiutto would do, but no speck)
- 35 gr Mortadella di Bologna (this is easy to find)
- 60 g4 Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 eggs salt and muscat nut
- 300gr Parmigiano Reggiano
- 200gr fresh cream.
First of all we prepare the pasta, mixing flour, eggs and salt.
This can be done by hands or using a stand mixer like a Kitchen Aid, the important thing is to have a very smooth and homogeneous dough. We can let the dough rest for a while and take care of the filling.
First we cut the pork into little cubes and grill it in a pan. Make sure that the pan is very hot, so that the pork will keep its juice inside.
Once all sides of the cubes are white, put them aside to cool down and cut the prosciutto and the mortadella in little pieces, put them in a mixer together with the pork and blend them all together until you get a smooth paste.
Transfer the paste in a bowl and add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, the eggs, salt and grated muscat nut (1/8th of a nut will be enough). Mix all together with a spoon and let it rest in the refrigerator.
Now it’s time to work again on the pasta.
Using a pasta maker or just a rolling pin, create a fillo dough about 1mm thick. Separating the dough in small portions will help you in this process, that it’s quite time comsuming, but you will be very happy at the end.
Create squares of about 3-4cm (we have actually tried different sizes from 3-6cm), put the filling in the middle of each square and get ready for the magic:
fold the square into half, creating a triangle and make sure to seal the two sides sticking the dough together.
Then bring together the two distant corners of the triangle and stick the third corner below the two. It’s easier to do than to explain how to do, the pictures will help you to better understand the process, and YouTube is always your friend.
Once you’ve finished preparing the tortellini you can let them rest up to one day. We were very hungry so we’ve cooked them right away and froze what was left (since it’s a lot of tortellini). You can keep them in the freezer for a couple of weeks. You can always reduce the amount of dough keeping the 1:1 proportion between flour and eggs.
Put the cream in a pot and let it reach about 60 degrees. Then take it out of the fire and add the grated Parmigiano.
Stir it until it will become an homogeneous cream. Put it back in the fire if necessary, but use always low fire.
Once the cream is ready boil the tortellini (remember to add salt to the water).
Once the tortellini are all floating (it should take about 5 minutes) take them out and deep them in the Parmigiano sauce.