There is a fascinating history behind tortellini! The origins of the dish are somewhat shrouded in mystery, but one popular legend is that tortellini was inspired by the navel of Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility in Roman mythology.Jump to Recipe
According to the legend, a wealthy nobleman was staying in a tavern in the town of Castelfranco Emilia, near Bologna, and he caught a glimpse of the innkeeper’s beautiful daughter through a keyhole. Captivated by her navel, he was inspired to create a pasta shape that resembled it. And so, the tortellini was born!
Another theory is that tortellini was invented by Italian monks, who wanted to create a pasta dish that symbolized the shape of Venus’s navel as a tribute to the goddess.
Regardless of its origins, tortellini is now a beloved dish in Emilia-Romagna and throughout Italy, and it has spread in popularity around the world. Whether you prefer your tortellini with a simple sauce or a more elaborate filling, there’s no denying that this small but mighty pasta has a rich and delicious history.
In terms of the filling, tortellini can be filled with a wide range of ingredients, including cheese, meat, vegetables, and even fruit. However, the fillings for tortellini are often more finely ground than those for ravioli, and they are usually mixed with a small amount of broth or cream to create a smoother, creamier texture.
Overall, tortellini and tortelloni are delicious and versatile pasta dishes, and the process of making them can be a fun and rewarding culinary adventure!
Fresh Tortellini and TortelloniDifficulty: Easy, Medium
Please note that the calorie count may vary depending on the filling and sauce used. Also, the prep time may be longer if you are making the filling from scratch or if you are making a large batch of tortellini or tortelloni.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1-2 tablespoons of water (if needed)
You can use any filling you like for tortellini, but traditional fillings include a mixture of pork, beef, and Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of ricotta cheese, spinach, and nutmeg.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the eggs.
- Use a fork to beat the eggs and slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs.
- Once the dough starts to come together, use your hands to knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, divide it into four equal pieces.
- Roll out the pasta dough using a pasta machine or rolling pin to the third-to-last setting. You want the dough to be thin, but not so thin that it tears when you try to fill it.
- Use a round cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut circles out of the pasta dough. The size of the circles will depend on how big you want your tortellini or tortelloni to be.
- Place a small amount of filling (about 1 teaspoon) in the center of each pasta circle. Be careful not to overfill the tortellini, or they may burst during cooking.
- To shape the tortellini, fold the circle in half to create a half-moon shape. Then, bring the two corners of the half-moon together and press them firmly to seal the tortellini. You should have a small "belly button" shape in the center of the tortellini.
- Repeat with the remaining pasta circles and filling until you have made all of the tortellini.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the tortellini. Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface and are cooked through.
- Serve the tortellini with your favorite sauce or toppings.
- You can use any filling you like for tortellini, but traditional fillings include a mixture of pork, beef, and Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of ricotta cheese, spinach, and nutmeg.
- The pasta dough needs to be rolled out very thin, as the tortellini are quite small and you don't want the pasta to be too thick.
- Make sure to seal the tortellini tightly, or they may burst during cooking. You can use a little bit of water or egg wash to help seal the edges of the pasta.
- If you're making a large batch of tortellini, you can freeze them for later. Place the uncooked tortellini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Then, transfer the tortellini to a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To cook, simply add the frozen tortellini to boiling water and cook for a few extra minutes until they float to the surface and are cooked through.
- You can also experiment with different fillings and sauces for your tortellini. Try using different types of cheese, meat, or vegetables in your filling, and pair the tortellini with a simple tomato sauce, brown butter and sage, or a creamy Alfredo sauce.
- It's worth noting that making tortellini can be a bit time-consuming, especially if you're making them from scratch. However, the end result is well worth the effort, and homemade tortellini is a delicious and impressive dish to serve to guests or to enjoy on a special occasion.