Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tortellini 101

And then there was the tortellini.  Little bites of yumminess filled with ricotta, ground turkey, spinach, red bell peppers, shallots, and spices. When we lived in Florida, we ate at Carrabba’s on a regular basis. It's an Italian chain restaurant, but the food is really decent and it's a kid-friendly place.  My husband’s favorite menu item was the Mezzaluna. Ravioli pillows filled with chicken, spinach and ricotta and served in a tomato cream sauce. This was my attempt to duplicate that dish.  Except I used turkey.  And I added red bell peppers.  And I made it in tortellini form.  And…well, never mind. You get the idea.

First of all, check out the photo below.  How lucky am I? I have my own personal sous chef.

Look at him go! He’s slicing, he’s dicing. Maybe we could get him his own infomercial. Pretty sure we’d have to do something about the hair first.  Just saying…

I also have my own dishwasher.  Miss Thing LOVES washing dishes. How long do I have before she figures out it’s really not all that much fun?  I can promise you I won't  be the one who breaks the news.

Okay...back the subject. First, we browned our turkey and added the shallots, peppers, etc. Cook until the shallots are translucent and then drop in the spinach. Because spinach has so much water, I let it cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. It needs to be a little dry. If it’s too wet, you'll end up with squooshy tortellini.  No one wants that.

See what I mean? That big bag of spinach cooked down to almost nothing.  By the way, I don't worry about pre-chopping the leaves or removing the stems.  I used baby spinach, so the stems are pretty tender and it's all going in the food processor with the ricotta anyhow.  Besides, all the best spinach vitamins are in the stems.  Okay, yeah...I did make up that last part.

After you put your pasta through the rollers, dole out little bits of filling. Use of a Little Mermaid spoon is optional.

Using a pizza cutter or a ravioli cutter, cut the pasta into individual squares. In my case, multiple helpers meant we used both types of cutter. Hence, ours have some straight edges and some zig-zag edges. Whatever. I'm not Martha.

To fold them up, bring the opposite corners together to make a triangle, making sure you seal the edges. Bring the points of the folded edge together and pinch. Miss Thing is dabbing a little water on the edges of this one before she folds it. That will ensure everything seals up nicely.

Here’s how the finished product looked. Notice the 'square' ones on the left side. Miss Thing got bored with doing it my way and wanted to make some "other shapes."  What can I say...variety is the spice of life.

At some point, the lure of folding tortellini lost out to other activities and I lost all my help.  I was left alone to finish assembling tortellini on my own.  Unfortunately, I made the proverbial butt-load of filling. A pound of turkey and a pound of ricotta go a looooong way when you’re only using a tiny bit in each tortellini. I gave up after the third batch and put the rest of the filling in a couple of freezer bags.  We’ll thaw it later and make some more.  If I open a bottle of wine, will you come help me fold?  Anyone?     


~ Lori ~ said... about if I drink the wine and WATCH you fold? That seems fair to me. I'll even blog it live if that trips your trigger...who knows...we could become the latest rage and get our own Food Network show! We could call it "The Drunk and The Diva"'ve GOT to be a total Domestic Diva to be making all of this fresh pasta...YOU ROCK.

Rona Kay said...

It's a deal, Lori! We could even take turns switching fair that you would get to have ALL the fun...

Brenda said...

Rona Kay,

Remember your tortellini soup? That stuff was soooo good.

I really enjoy reading your blog; you are a very talented writer. I remember you always wrote the best book reports in grade school.

kimmo framelius said...

a good story
and good photos

thank you

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

Looks great! Love all the photos! Adorable!