Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chestnut & ricotta tortellini

I almost forgot about these. They're from the holidays, a time when good Italian chestnuts are available in abundance, even here in Maine.

It's a pretty simple equation, really. I see nice chestnuts, I buy nice chestnuts. I worry about how to use them later on.

And so one morning, as our holiday houseguests were still sleeping in their beds, I roasted a couple pounds of chestnuts (here's how) and got to thinking, naturally, about filled pasta.

Big surprise.

Crumble the chestnuts (this is a pound's worth shelled) by hand and saute in a stick of butter. After a few minutes pour into a food processor and run it until the chestnuts take on a granular quality.

You can see that this isn't completely smooth. That's the way I like it, as it gives the filling some texture, but if you prefer it smoother just process the chestnuts longer, possibly adding a bit of cream.

To complete the filling just mix in ricotta (1/2 pound would be the minimum, a full pound max), some grated nutmeg and a touch of lemon zest. If the filling is on the stiff side add cream or milk as needed, but that's really all there is to it.

The rest is Tortellini Making 101. Roll out your pasta sheet and spoon out the filling like so, leaving a good couple inches in between each dollop.

Cut the individual squares.

Fold diagonally in half.

And press down along the edges to seal. (If your dough is on the dry side you may need to brush the edges with egg wash before folding over.)

Then simply bring the two top edges together and press so that they join.

Cover a tray or work surface with course semolina and rest the tortellini on top until you're ready to cook them.

You can serve these a lot of different ways (brown butter comes to mind), but I went with a simple en brodo, which means that I boiled and served the tortellini in a fresh homemade chicken stock and then topped things off with parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Like I said, this all happened around a month ago now. But if memory serves no complaints were filed—and the houseguests have already scheduled their return.


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