|The tortellino (singular of tortellini) is the most famous and distinctively shaped pasta of Emilia Romagna. According to ancient Bolognese tradition, the real tortellino, which must be hand-made, is served only in broth, even if some "experts" spoil it with sauces and cheap ragout.|
• 5 to 6 ounces (140 to 170 gr.) boneless top loin beef steak, trimmed of fat
• 4 oz. (120 gr.) mortadella
• 4 oz. (120 gr.) Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
• 4 oz. (120 gr.) freshly grated Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
The pasta dough (for each person):
• 1 egg
• 4 oz. (120 gr.) flour type "00"
• 5 quarts Poultry/Meat Stock
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 2 to 3 cups (8 to 12 ounces) freshly grated
• Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Making the Filling:
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, grind the steak very fine. Transfer it to a medium-size glass or stainless steel bowl. Place the mortadella and prosciutto in the processor, and grind very fine. Add to the bowl along with the 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Blend the ingredients into a stiff paste, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
If working by hand, finely chop the meats until they are almost a paste. Blend in the cheese, cover, and refrigerate.
Shaping the Tortellini:
Work with a quarter of the dough at a time, keeping the remainder loosely wrapped in plastic. Stretch and thin, lay hand or by machine, until you can detect the color of a ball of the filling through the dough. Divide the sheet in half, and cover both halves with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
Cut one sheet into 4.5 centimeters (1 ¾ inch) rounds, using a small glass or a biscuit cutter. Cover the rounds to keep them from drying out. Make little crescents with ¼ teaspoon of the filling. Place a crescent in the center of each round, fold the dough over, and tightly pinch the edges together to seal thoroughly. Then bring the tails of the crescent together, overlapping them, and twist one over the other. Seal well so that you have tiny doughnut shapes, with the sealed edges cunnng over the filling. Spread the finished tortellini on flat baskets or baking sheets covered with kitchen towels, taking care to not let them touch. Continue working until the sheets of dough are used up. Leave the tortellini uncovered as you work. Turn them over after an hour or so to keep them from getting soggy.
Roll out the remaining dough (still working with only a quarter at a time), and repeat the process until all the dough is used up.
Place the tortellini in plenty of boiling meat broth and boil for approx. 10 minutes.
The tortellini can be frozen as soon as they have been prepared, in which case they should be boiled from frozen for approx. 18/20 mins.)
The origin of tortellini has been contested for centuries between Bologna and Modena. We know that from the 16th century they were already a well-known Bolognese speciality for the upper classes, enjoyed by the masses only on special feast days. The father of the modern recipe, which is still made by housewives in Emilia, is the19th century gastronomist Pellegrino Artusi from Romagna.
Feb 6 06