Somewhere in Tuscany, on a quiet Sunday just like the others. A “nonna” is bringing to the table a large bowl of these large ravioli, stuffed with creamy potatoes and served with delicious Ragù, to share with the whole family. This is what Sundays are for.
Growing up I had a slight aversion to simple food, and most traditional italian food is simple. I disliked ragù, roast beef and roasted potatoes because we used to eat them so often that they became boring to me. I wanted to try new and different food but that wasn’t really an option in my household.
Everytime my grandma would bring to the table these Tortelli Mugellani, I would make a grimace and eat them relunctantly, almost with disgust. “Oh no, not these again!”.
Then I grew up, things changed, I changed. Just like everybody does. Thankfully, also my taste in food changed and evolved. Now I eat things that I hated when I was little. And yes, now I LOVE ragù, roast beef and roasted potatoes.
What food went from hate to love (or vice versa) for you when you grew up?
The history of Tortelli Mugellani
The origin of Tortelli Mugellani, or Tortelli di Patate (literally translates to Potato Ravioli) is very ancient. The first mention is in a poem dating 1400 a.d.
This dish is born as a peasant dish, made with few and simple ingredients that were available at that time. Their characteristic is their square shape, bigger than the classic Ravioli, hence the different name Tortelli.
These Tortelli were initially made with a filling of chestnuts, which were really popular in the area of Mugello (where the dish name comes from), an historic region in the North of Florence. Then, around 1800 a.d. cultivations of potatoes started and replaced them in the filling.
The Tortelli Mugellani are still made nowadays in many parts of Tuscany, following the same classic recipe and served with a flavorful Tuscan Ragù and a glass of good Chianti wine.
To check the step-by-step detailed instructions on how to make Ravioli from scratch, check the recipe of Ricotta and Smoked Salmon Ravioli.
Tortelli Mugellani - Tuscan Potato Ravioli
For the Pasta
- 180 g (1 1/2 cups) Flour
- 2 Eggs
For the Filling
- 400 g Potatoes
- 1 Garlic clove minced
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Cream
- 2 tbsp Parmigiano cheese
- Parsey finely chopped
- Black Pepper ground
- Nutmeg ground
For the Pasta Dough
- In a large wooden board (or a large bowl) place all the flour, make a hole in the center and break the eggs in. Add a pinch of salt and with a fork start mixing the eggs slowly.
- Still mixing with the fork, add the flour to the eggs a little bit at a time until it gets all mixed up together.
- When you've added already most of the flour and it becomes hard to mix with the fork, get your hands dirty! Mix well with your hands until it becomes a uniform dough, add some more flour to the board if necessary and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Now cover the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.
For the Filling
- Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes, then boil in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce them.
- Drain the potatoes and mesh them finely, then add the minced garlic, butter, cream, cheese, parsley and seasoning to taste.
- Mix well with a fork and set aside to cool down.
To make the Ravioli
- With a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll the dough until it gets really thin, almost translucent.
- With a teaspoon or a sac-a-poche place the filling as big as walnut on the dough, spacing it at least 5 cm (2 in.), brush with water around the filling and cover with the other pasta sheet. Pinch with your fingers starting from one side and slowly all around to remove the air from inside the ravioli.
- Cut the ravioli, then press again the edges with your fingers to make sure they're well stick together and then set the ravioli aside on the clean cloth to rest.
- Bring to boil a large pot of salted water, then toss the ravioli slowly one by one being careful not to open them.
- Let them cook about 3-4 minutes (the cooking time mostly depends on the thickness of your pasta. Taste one to make sure is al dente but not raw).
- Serve with Ragù or with melted butter and sage leaves.