Happy Birthday to me!
This year my husband was extra creative! He took a cooking lesson from a professional Italian chef and founder of Copper Pot Food Company, Stefano Frigerio. We are lucky to have him as a good friend and neighbor.
My husband had Stefano teach him how to make homemade tortellini (one of my absolute favorite foods!). Anyway, for my birthday he bought me a pasta press and from what he had learned from his cooking lesson, he had us make fresh Tortellini from scratch together for my birthday dinner.
It was a lot of fun, but more than that, the food was awesome! There is something to be said about fresh homemade food! I can see us forty years from now (retired hopefully!) making delicious gourmet meals from scratch with the freshest ingredients!
We went with a cheese filling this time since that is my favorite and after all… it was my birthday! You can use lots of different fillings. Stefano had Danny learn a prosciutto filling during is cooking lesson.
Here is the recipe we used for our cheese filling.
1 (8 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 (4oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
***Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2 cups flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tb water
***I use 4 eggs instead of 2 as our chef told us you need 2 eggs for every cup of flour you use. If you only use 2 eggs and mix the dough it is so dry it just crumbles instead of being able to roll out.
The recipe from Allrecipes.com has you dump the flour and salt right on the table and mix it by hand. Then you form a well and mix in the liquid ingredients (that you first beat together). Then knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
This did sound sort of interesting so we made two batches… one we mixed right on the table as the directions say to do and one we mixed in the kitchen aid. I couldn’t tell the difference between them.
So, if you are adventurous and don’t mind a mess mix it right on the table, but really it doesn’t matter! I will admit that the kneading gets a bit tedious when you do it by hand (Yes, Grandma I know us modern girls are spoiled!). I did not refrigerate the dough for one hour either, but hey neither did our professional chef teacher.
Ready to get cut in to small pieces to feed through the pasta machine
Form your dough into a ball and place on a lightly flowered surface. Cut the ball into small pieces (we did 4 or 5 smaller pieces). Grab one piece at a time and feed it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting (there is a number dial on the pasta machine). Add a pinch or two of flour to the rolled out dough, then fold up flatly and feed back into the machine on one setting lower. Repeat this process until you have gone through to the 2nd to lowest setting on your number dial. You will be left with a very long thin, ribbony textured strip of dough. Put the strip across a cleaned table. Do this with all of your dough.
Rolling the dough through the machine
Here is a close up of the dial. Roll each piece of dough through each setting once.
Lay your strips of ribbon textured dough across a clean table.
For the next part, you need a circle cookie cutter, or just use the top of a kids cup like we did. Cut out as many circles as you can using your strips of dough. Lay your circles on a lightly flowered table and get your cheese mixture out. Put just a small amount in the center of each circle (we used a baby spoon to dish this out). If you use to much filling, you will not be able to roll your tortellini without the cheese leaking out.
FOLDING THE TORTELLINI
Beat one egg in a bowl. Brush a small amount of egg onto the very end of the dough circle. This will act as the glue.
1. Fold the circle in half pushing the dough together to seal the cheese in
2. Fold the ends of the dough (not the creased part) up
3. Pull the corners of the dough together around your pinky finger and squish dough together to hold
Once you are ready to cook your tortellini, fill a large pan with water and a pinch of salt and let it come to a rolling boil (a rolling boil is a strong boil that doesn’t stop even when being stirred or adding ingredients). Add the pasta, stirring occasionally. Cook until the pasta starts to float to the top… about 4 to 8 minutes. Drain and add your sauce!
You can use any sauce you want really! We wanted to use a homemade sauce made with all fresh tomatoes! It was fabulous!
All fresh ingredients for the sauce! Delish!
A fabulously romantic birthday dinner!
If you look closely you can see the steam coming off the food in this picture!