Beautiful handmade Tortelli or Tortelloni, filled with creamy aromatic Ricotta mixed with all the fresh herbs such as tarragon, sage, basil, lemon thyme, and chives. But you can use whatever fresh herbs you have available! A fantastic dish to impress friends and family.
I always loved cooking with fresh herbs, that's why I keep so many in my garden. There's something so satisfying from picking up fresh herbs from your garden, choosing the best leaves, trimming the branches to make it look pretty, then going to the kitchen, and making a delicious meal with them.
They're so much more flavorful than dried herbs and make your garden smell amazing. The flavor is also quite different than the dried ones. If you ever smelled fresh oregano you know what I mean. Or tarragon, for example, the dried one it's completely missing the fantastic flavor and aroma.
So if you don't have it already, make yourself a nice herb garden. On your balcony, in your garden, or even on your kitchen windowsill. And use your fresh herbs in as many dishes as possible, you'll notice the difference!
What is Tortelloni?
Tortelli, or Tortelloni, are a pasta shape typical from the Emilia Romagna region. They're similar in shape to the much more famous Tortellini, but they're much larger and can have a variety of different fillings.
The difference between tortellini and tortelloni is mainly in their size and filling. The name "Tortelloni" means large Tortelli while "Tortellini" means small Tortelli. The funny thing is that the name Tortelli instead is given to most filled pasta shapes as a generic name, although many regions may argue on the "original" Tortelli.
The filling or Tortellini, by tradition, can be only one. A paste of meat, Mortadella, and Parmigiano cheese is the classic filling. They're also very small and usually served in meat broth. Tortelli and Tortelloni, instead, are larger and can have a multitude of different fillings, just as far as your imagination can go. You can also serve them in broth or with sauces like Ragù, or the more classic Butter and Sage Sauce.
Check out also this extensive guide with step-by-step videos on how to make 10 different shapes of fresh pasta without a pasta machine.
Which fresh herbs can I use?
In Spring and Summer, I love cooking with fresh herbs as much as possible. I add them to my tomato sauce, I make homemade Pesto, I use them in any possible dish.
In my garden, I have a variety of Mediterranean herbs like Basil, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Chives and more. For this Ricotta filling, I decided to use only Tarragon, Sage, Basil, Chives and Lemon Thyme. Although you can use any herb you have available, be careful about the quantities and proportions based on the herb's flavor.
Some plants have a much more intense flavor than others, such as Sage and Rosemary. So be careful to not add too much of these otherwise they will overpower all the other flavors. Basil and Chives, instead, have a much milder flavor so you can add them abundantly.
I suggest you get a bunch of herbs, chop them finely and mix them, then taste. Based on your taste you can make adjustments adding more of what's missing.
You can also use some dried herbs in the mix, but the flavor and consistency of fresh herbs goes very well with the creamy Ricotta.
Can I freeze homemade Pasta?
Yes, yes, yes! Frozen fresh pasta saved many dinners in my house. But be careful, you can only freeze the uncooked pasta. Once cooked, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
To freeze uncooked fresh pasta, cover a flat tray or dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil, then add the tortelloni on top, making sure they're all well distanced and not touching each other. Add the dish in the freezer for about 1 hour. This way they will not stick to each other into a pasta block.
After 1 hour, remove it from the freezer and add all the tortelloni in a freezer bag. You can keep frozen for about 1 month.
To cook, toss the frozen pasta directly into salted boiling water, without thawing first.
Fresh Herbs and Ricotta Tortelloni
For the Tortelloni
- 2 Eggs
- 1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
For the Filling
- ½ cup Ricotta
- 1 tablespoon fresh Herbs, see notes
- 1 tablespoon Parmigiano cheese, grated
- Black Pepper
For the Sauce
- 1-2 tablespoon Butter
- Parmigiano cheese, grated
- Black Pepper
- 3-4 Sage leaves, optional
- In a large bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt, then add the eggs in the middle and mix them well with a fork, slowly incorporating the flour. When the dough becomes too sticky to mix with a fork, start kneading with your hands. You can also move it to a floured board at this point.
- Knead energetically for 5-10 minutes, until you get a smooth and uniform dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Finely chop all the fresh herbs, then add them in a small bowl together with the Ricotta and the grated Parmigiano. Add some salt, a tiny pinch of nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.
- Divide the pasta dough into 3-4 parts, then start rolling them with a rolling pin on a floured board or with a pasta machine, first with the thickest setting a couple of times, then slowly making it thinner and thinner until it’s about 2 mm (1/16”).
- Cut the pasta sheet into 6-7 cm (2 ½”) squares, then with a teaspoon or a sac-a-poche, add the Ricotta filling in the center. Brush some water along the edges, then fold into a triangle. Roll slightly, then fold the points around your finger and press well to close. Check this picture for the folding stages.
- Place your tortelloni on a clean cloth to rest. While you are making them, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- When the tortelloni are all done, add the butter to a pan a turn on the low heat to melt it but not brown it. When the butter is melted, also add some sage leaves for flavor. Then, toss the tortelloni in the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes (it depends on the thickness of the pasta. Taste one to make sure the pasta is cooked).
- Drain the tortelloni and add them to the pan with the butter and sage. Add the grated Parmigiano and black pepper and toss to coat them well. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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