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.
Tortelli, Tortellini, Cappelletti, and Tortelloni. They're always a fun pasta shape to make. They look very elaborate and show-stopping but they're fairly easy to do once you learn the correct folding steps.
I love to experiment with different fillings, other than the classic Ricotta and Spinach, like for these Pecorino Cheese Cappelletti with Asparagus sauce. Ricotta cheese is mild and creamy and pairs well with a great variety of herbs, vegetables, and proteins.
What is the difference between Tortelloni and Tortellini?
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, and 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.
For your tortelloni filling, 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 go very well with the creamy Ricotta.
How to fold Tortelloni Pasta
Once you've made your pasta dough, roll it thinly with a rolling pin or through a pasta machine.
Cut the pasta sheet into 2 ½” (6-7 cm) squares, then with a teaspoon or a sac-a-poche, add the Ricotta filling in the center (1). Brush some water along the edges, then fold the square into a triangle (2).
Roll slightly the center towards the middle point (3), then fold the outer corner around your finger and press well to close (4).
Now, place your tortelloni on a clean cloth to rest until you're ready to cook them
How to freeze fresh pasta
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 tortelloni 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 to the freezer for about 1 hour. This way they will not stick to each other in a pasta block.
After 1 hour, remove it from the freezer and add all the tortelloni to a freezer bag. You can keep frozen for about 1 month.
To cook, toss the frozen tortelloni directly into salted boiling water, without thawing first.
FAQ & Tips
Yes, absolutely you can! You can freeze all kinds of raw fresh pasta for up to 1 month. See the post above for detailed tips on how to freeze pasta.
Yes, you can use any fresh herb you have available or also substitute it with dried herbs. But keep in mind that the flavor of your tortelloni filling will be more subtle if you use dried herbs.
Since I wanted the filling to shine, I opted for a classic butter and sage sauce with Parmigiano cheese. You can also opt for a cream sauce or a delicious tomato sauce, but they might cover up a bit the flavor of the filling.
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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.
- 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.