Homemade Basil Ricotta Tortelloni with a Rustic Tomato Sauce• Visit the cooking class in Verenna, Italy: Il Caminetto Related: How To Make Pasta: Tips From My Italian-Mother-in-Law (Images: Stephanie Barlow)
Serves 4 and makes approximately 40 tortelloniFor the pasta dough 12 ounces durum wheat semolina flour (half of a standard 24-ounce bag), plus 1/4 cup for rolling 3 to 4 eggs For the pasta filling 4 ounces fresh ricotta 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons basil, chopped 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 egg 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan For the sauce 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1/2 cup black olives, sliced 1 tablespoon capers, drained from brine 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced 2 cups tomato puree 1/4 cup basil, chopped Making the Pasta Dough To make pasta dough, pour flour onto a large cutting board or counter top. Make a well and add 3 eggs. Using your hands, break the yolks and slowly incorporate flour into the well, breaking up any clumps of flour with your fingers. Time is your friend here so go slowly. Once the egg mixture thickens and holds together well, incorporate all of the flour and knead the dough together. Dough should be slightly sticky but not wet. Add more flour or an additional egg if the texture is too wet (the dough will be too sticky to knead) or too dry (the dough will be crumbly and won't come together in a ball). The number of eggs used will vary based on the size of the eggs, the humidity in your kitchen, and a million other reasons (really!). Knead the dough until all flour is incorporated and the dough feels elastic, about 5-10 minutes. The longer you knead, the more smooth and elastic the dough will become. Form dough into a ball, dust with flour, and wrap with plastic. Let rest for 20 minutes. Making the Filling Meanwhile, make ricotta filling. Mix ricotta with salt, basil, lemon, and egg. Set aside. Rolling the Dough Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Because this dough will be folded onto itself to make the tortelloni, thinner is better. If you have a pasta roller, work dough through the thinnest setting. Take care to keep dough from drying out by keeping unused portions covered. Shaping the Pasta Using a pasta cutter, or just a sharp knife, cut dough into large squares, about 4 inches square. Put 1 heaping teaspoon of ricotta filling in the center of each square. Brush water along two edges of the square and fold opposite corner over to make a triangle, being careful to seal the filling inside. Holding the straight edge away from you, gently grasp the two opposing corners with your fingers and thumbs. Bring opposing corners toward each other, so the straight edge creases, and press corners together, one on top of the other, forming the tortelloni. This is easier than it sounds. However, don't stress out about the shape. Be creative and form the tortelloni into any shape desired. Making the Sauce To make sauce, add oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add olives, capers, and cherry tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook tortelloni in a pot of salted boiling water until pasta is al dente, about 2-4 minutes. Serve hot with rustic sauce.