ASPARAGUS & RICOTTA TORTELLI
Ingredients for the filling:
500g GREEN ASPARAGUS (=17,64oz)
500g cow’s milk RICOTTA obtained from whey and cream (=17,64oz=2 cups)
300g PDO PARMIGIANO REGGIANO 24 months (10,58oz=3 cups)
20g unsalted BUTTER (=0,71oz= 1 ⅓ tbsp)
1 EGG YOLK
TABLE SALT to taste
COARSE SALT to taste
Ingredients for the dough:
6 EGGS (about 285g=10,05oz)
about 190g DARUM WHEAT SEMOLINA (=6,70oz= 1 ⅛ cup)
about 380g PLAIN FLOUR (=13,40oz= 3 cups)
16g EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (=0,56oz= 1 ⅛ tbsp)
TABLE SALT to taste
Ingredients for the sauce:
80g unsalted BUTTER (=2,82oz=⅓ cup)
PDO PARMIGIANO REGGIANO 24 months to taste
Put a high-sided narrow pot with 3000g water (=105,82oz) on the stove at high flame.
Prepare the pasta dough breaking and weighing the eggs (I suggest you to go for 6 eggs the first time, then you can decide if to opt for 5 from the following time: this depends on the thickness you choose and on how much pasta you leave around the filling), then calculate the double of the egg weight and the result is the total amount of flour needed. Divide this amount in three parts: ⅓ darum wheat semolina and ⅔ plain flour. I proceed with one pinch of table salt for every egg yolk and then I add extra-virgin olive oil.
Knead until it becomes smooth, elastic and homogeneous, then cover it carefully with plastic wrap. Let the pasta dough rest in the fridge for minimum 1 hour before using it.
In the meantime, wash the asparagus and cut the hard part away (it will remain about 360g=12,70oz asparagus).
Once water boils, add 1 pinch of coarse salt (about 2g=0,07oz) and when it comes to boil again, throw the asparagus in. Cook them for about 10 minutes, then drain them and plunge them in a bowl filled with cold water.
Cut the asparagus into rough rounds, keeping the tips whole if you want to use them to decorate the final plate.
Melt butter in a pan, then add the asparagus rounds and cook them for about 2-2,5 minutes. Blend with a food processor and let cool down.
Strain the ricotta if necessary (I always ask for a compact and not too watery ricotta), then press it with a fork and mix it with the blended asparagus. Add freshly grated PDO Parmigiano Reggiano and mix. Taste the filling to decide if you need to add some table salt (I usually don’t add any). Add the egg yolk and mix well.
Take the pasta dough out of the fridge and cut a little pasta (the right amount for 3-4 stripes of tortelli, according to the size of your pastry board). Always remember to cover the remaining pasta dough with its plastic wrap.
Roll the dough thin with a pasta machine: flatten a bit with your fingers or with a rolling pin and insert in the pasta machine between the rollers starting from the larger hole (setting the adjustment knob of the machine to 0). Decrease the thickness step by step and pass through the rollers each time until you get to your chosen thickness (my machine has 9 levels and I stop at 7 for tortelli).
Lay the pasta sheets on the pastry board, then lay quenelles of filling (I usually shape them using 2 spoons as this filling is quite a soft one, but you can use a piping bag instead) along an imaginary line in the middle of the pasta sheet. Fold the pasta sheet so to completely cover the filling. Press to seal, making sure to let all the air out (I usually use my left hand index finger in a straight position together with my right hand pinky finger curved so to touch the edge to the index). Cut with a pasta wheel providing a rectangular shape. Anytime you prepare a strip, you can re-use the scraps of the strip before (if they are still humid enough).
Lay the shaped tortelli on a cardboard tray (with this pasta recipe you don’t need to flour your working surface nor the tray as it is not a sticky one).
You will get about 80 tortelli with this recipe. I suggest you to eat them all fresh, as I don’t like to freeze tortelli when there’s ricotta in.
To cook tortelli put a pot filled with water on the stove at high flame. When water boils, add coarse salt. As it comes to boil again, toss the tortelli and stir gently with a perforated spoon. It will take about 3 minutes cooking.
In the meantime, melt butter in a small saucepan at low flame without frying it.
Strain tortelli with the perforated spoon and lay them in a wide colander to lose all the water (I usually place a soup plate below). Place 12 asparagus & ricotta tortelli (this is the average serve per person) on each dinner plate.
Drizzle asparagus & ricotta tortelli with melted butter and then sprinkle with PDO Parmigiano Reggiano.
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