“Ugly” Tortellini With Pink Sauce

#RecipeUpTop (details below):

For the pasta

  • Six eggs (300g);
  • 450g AP flour;
  • 10g salt;

For the filling:

  • 2 cups ricotta;
  • Seasoning (per preference, to taste);

Method: Combine the eggs, flour, and salt, and knead into a firm dough. Allow to rest for thirty (30) minutes, then process through pasta rollers to desired thickness. Cut rounds, season ricotta, and for tortellini. Cook in boiling water for two (2) minutes, then sauce and serve immediately.

The Details

Some (a lot) of things in life are a real pain in the ass. Our philosophy here on 10Chickens Mountain is to suck it up and make the most of our effort, which usually means making big batches of the finicky stuff all at once.

And so, on a breezy Sunday, we manufacture tortellini for the freezer. The reality is making a hundred of these is only slightly more work than a dozen, so when we decide it’s “go-time” we tend to go big. The good news is they freeze forever, and can be dished out a few at a time for quick mid-week meals. They also can be fried up for a really decadent football snack. The point is, pour a drink, play some music, and spend the time to stock your freezer with some really awesome grub.

Also, before we get started, fair warning that this post will cause palpitations in authentic Nonas the world over. I am not Italian, and every time we make these, I can feel the weight of a thousand sighs upon my back. While I am sorry, I stand by these tortellini as being delicious, easy, and (most importantly) achievable. Anyway, onward.

Step one: the dough. We’ve covered pasta dough before in our sweet potato ravioli post, but here’s a quick refresher.

The magic ratio of pasta is 3:2 flour to eggs. The practical effect of this is that I weigh my eggs, then multiply by 1.5 to find the rough measure of flour I’ll need:

I’m using six eggs here which makes a TON of pasta dough, but as you’ll see, we’ll need it. Large eggs usually weigh about fifty (50) grams, and these are no exception. From here, add the salt, beat the eggs, and add the flour

I like to use a fork at the front end to incorporate the eggs into the flour. It just seems to make less of a mess. Shortly, you’ll have a shaggy dough:

At this point, flour your counter top, turn the dough out, and get in there with your hands. You’ll feel it come together and stiffen into a uniform ball like sorcery:

This needs to rest. I usually just turn the mixing bowl over on top of it, but you can use a tea towel if you want. It needs to sit for thirty (30) minutes.

Step two: making the rounds. This is where I’m going to get a lot of hate from traditionalists, but it makes things easy. After running your dough through your pasta rollers (I like a #6 thickness), I cheat and use a pastry cutter to produce uniform rounds:

I like this method because the rounds are uniform and don’t take any additional rolling (which traditional methods may require). It’s quick and dirty, but look, I’m no professional when it comes to shaping these things and I need all the help I can get. Speaking of:

Step three: fill and shape. Today, we’re going with a classic ricotta filling, but really you can do whatever you want. To get the ricotta ready, add some olive oil, salt, and whatever other seasonings you’d like. We’re using garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Keep tasting it until you get it just right:

From here, dollop a small amount onto the center of your round (you can use a spoon, or go berserk and use a piping bag to really speed things up):

Then fold it over like a dumpling:

Then wrap the corners around your pinky finger and press to seal them together:

That’s it. Now, do it all afternoon while you drink some wine.

So, why do we call these “ugly”? Well, because they’re going to be all kinds of different and you will laugh at yourself.

Here’s the thing: they’re all delicious, and once they cook, they’ll swell up and hide some of the incongruities, if you’re really worried about that sort of thing. For us, it’s more about the fun of the process and the convenience of a stocked freezer.

Speaking of, the freezing process has a bit of a trick. You need to freeze them well-spaced on a cookie sheet first, then you can store them all together in an air-tight container. If you skip this step, you’ll end up with an un-cookable clump of tortellini that will all freeze to each other.

HOWEVER, if you’re cooking a few for dinner (like we are), go ahead and heat plenty of salted water to boiling. Fully-frozen, these will take about four (4) minutes to cook. Fresh, it’s closer to two (2). Let them boil and roll free in the water, then evacuate with a spider or slotted spoon to your sauce.

What? You didn’t make a sauce? Well, these are great with a little browned butter and sage. Or maybe some classic pesto. Tonight, we’re grabbing some of our standard “sauce of your own” from the freezer and heating it up with a little butter, a little cream, and some fresh parm for a scratch-made pink sauce:

And there you have it. A little wine, a little work, some good conversation, and a freezer full of quick-cooking, absurdly cheap, scratch-made flavor bombs. Schedule in a Sunday appointment for some ugly cooking.

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