Friday, October 22, 2010

Melanie's Tortellini

I'm calling this "Melanie's Tortellini" because "Italian Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Tortellini with Burnt Butter & Basil Tomato Sauce" is kind of a mouth full.
This is one of those complete accident recipes - I just started throwing what I had in the fridge together & ended up with this - and it is to die for!  I'm not going to lie - this one is a lot of work.  There are a bunch of little steps, but it comes together quickly.  For me it's well worth the 30-45 minutes of prep time - the trade off is that it only takes 5 minutes to cook!  I love it & hope you enjoy it too!
This is a HUGE Recipe!  When I make it there is enough to feed my family for dinner & have left over's for lunch the next day.

2 1/3 cup all purpose flour {or you can use freshly ground soft white wheat - that's my favorite!}
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
1 tsp olive oil

Sift together 2 cups flour & salt.  Pour onto counter & make a well in the center.  Combine eggs, water & oil.  Pour into center of well & use a fork to combine with flour until it forms a ball.  If you need more flour, lightly sprinkle some on & knead until dough is soft & elastic (8-10 minutes).
*If you add too much flour the dough is shot & there is no going back.  I tend to keep it a little on the sticky side because I'll add more when I roll it out.*
Cover & set aside to rest while you make the cheese filling.

Cheese Filling
15 oz ricotta {you'll need to drain off the excess liquid.  A few hours before I start I line a colander with cheese cloth & a bowl underneath & let it sit in the fridge.  Then right before I start putting it together I squeeze out as much liquid as I can.  You want the ricotta pretty dry}
1 cup shredded mozzarella*
1 cup shredded Parmesan*
2 oz cream cheese*
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 oz baby spinach leafs, washed & chopped

*Kraft makes a 5 Italian Cheese mix with Cream Cheese - which is a great substitution.

In a saucepan heat oil & add spinach.  Saute until spinach leaves are soft & just start to wilt.  Set aside to let cool.  Combine drained ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese,  cream cheese, & salt.  Stir in cooled spinach.

Next comes the fun {& time consuming} part.  Start by dividing your pasta dough into 4 equal parts - this will make life easier!  On a lightly floured surface roll each potion to about a 12" square, or 1/16" thick.  Cut dough into circles & add filling.  {I use a 2.25" cutter & 1 tsp filling - it is the perfect bite size for me & I cut them in 1/2 for my kids}

Next wet 1/2 of the outside edge of the pasta.  Fold it over to form a semi-circle & press tightly closed.  Fold up the sealed side & bring the 2 ends together pressing/sealing together (hopefully the picture above helps).  Set finished Tortellini aside on a lightly floured towel.

Have a large pot of boiling water ready before you start the sauce - this last part takes about 5 minutes to finish & you're ready to serve!
Burnt Butter Basil & Tomato Sauce
4 Tbsp Butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
30-40 fresh Basil leaves
30 oz diced tomatoes

In a large skillet, melt butter & cook until it just starts to turn light golden brown - be careful not to let it go too dark.  Lower heat & add basil leaves & garlic.  Cook until leaves have just started to wilt & add diced tomatoes.

Add your pasta to the boiling water (I do it in 2 batches).  It take about 2 minutes to cook the pasta - you know it's done because they will all float.  Use a slotted spoon to scoop out pasta, drain, & add right to the pan of tomato sauce.  Let everything simmer together for a minute or too & then plate it up.  We really like cheese, so I usually sprinkle some more Parmesan over the top.


Vickie said...

This would probably be good with an Alfredo sauce too, right? mmmm.

Saimi said...

It does look good! I'm just hopping over from Mary's blog, Quite Contrary.

I bet your house always smells good with all that cooking and a baking going on!