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.

PASTA
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.

2 comments:

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!