Friday, June 1, 2012

Homemade Ricotta Tortellini with Pea Sauce

As I've said before with homemade pasta, there is no greater satisfaction than serving up a beautiful dish of hand-crafted noodles. They taste good too!

I can't believe I haven't posted the recipe for this sauce before. I absolutely love it and it is super easy to make. You can pair it with any pasta - the recipe calls for egg tagliatelle. Yesterday though, I decided to go "all-out" and make my own fresh tortellini. It turned out great, and I'm sure it will only get better with practice.

Homemade Ricotta Tortellini with Pea Sauce

Sauce from Thirty Minute Pasta by 
Tortellini from Alton Brown

Here is the picture of the pea sauce from the cookbook.. Obviously that is not tortellini, but like I said, the sauce goes great with any pasta!

1 batch of whole wheat pasta dough 
(See my post, "Whole Wheat Bow Ties with Pesto" for the dough recipe)

For the filling:

1/2 C ricotta cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbs finely chopped spinach
1 egg
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg

egg wash: 1 egg + 1/2 tsp water

For the sauce:

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz frozen peas

First, mix up your pasta dough according to the instructions. When you get to the rolling stage, use either a pasta machine or a rolling pin to roll the pasta into thin sheets. Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut circles about 3 inches in diameter into your dough. Gather the scraps and repeat until you have eked out as many circles as possible.

Mix together all of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Make the egg wash in a small bowl by whisking the egg and water together. 

Next, dollop about 1/2 tsp of the cheese mixture onto the center of each round. Use your finger to spread a bit of the egg onto the edges of the circle. Fold half of the circle onto the other half so that you have kind of a folded half-circle shape. take the two corners of the half circle and pull them together to make a loop, pressing the corners together. And there you have tortellini!  Don't worry if your shapes don't look perfect or just like what comes from the store. As long as they hold together and the filling doesn't leak out, they will be great. If you do find that the filling is oozing out when you fold, use less cheese mixture and it will work just fine.

Put a large pot of water on to boil, and start your pea sauce while it heats. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 to 8 minutes, until it is tender and golden brown. Next, add the peas and about 1/2 cup of water. Season well with salt and pepper (I always am very generous with the pepper in this recipe). Cook until the peas are tender and heated through, about 6 minutes. You may need to add water if it evaporates too quickly.

When the peas are done, remove about half of the mixture and puree it in a food processor, blender, or food mill. Return the puree to the pan with the remaining peas.

When the water is briskly boiling add the tortellini and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the pasta floats to the surface. When the pasta is about half done, add about 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the peas and stir to create a creamy sauce. 

Drain the tortellini well and stir it into the pea sauce. Serve immediately, perhaps sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

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