Tortellini in Brodo
I’ve been thinking lately–what is the homemade impulse? Where does it come from? Why do I feel so much more satisfied eating toast with a marmalade I’ve made myself or wearing a hat I’ve hand-knit? Is it a form of opting out of capitalism? Is that where the satisfaction comes from? Or is it a more basic human need to make?
It’s interesting how much more natural it is in modern life to purchase than to make, which I guess is why DIY has gained such steam in the last 10 or 15 years–the sheer novelty (and pleasure) of using your hands to produce the materials you live amongst. In daily life, you can easily move through the day making nothing. But there is a slowing effect in the hand-shaping, hand-carving, hand-kneading. The intake of information slows to just that of the senses. And maybe it has become a really useful thing–to step back, to be slow, to produce things with just the force of your body and a few ingredients.
Maggie and I have been on a homemade pasta spree lately, and the next logical step in our adventures is stuffed pasta. We’ve both lived in Emilia Romagna, so, though we may be novice tortellini-makers, we certainly can consider ourselves expert tortellini-eaters. Niente problema.
It takes a bit of time, but isn’t that the point? Taking time?
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. butter
3/4 lb. prosciutto
2 oz. ricotta
2 oz. bel paese
1/4 c. grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Create a mound of flour and dig out a little well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the well and add the salt. With your hands, work the ingredients into a dough, which should be a bit sticky. If you need to, adjust consistency by adding a bit of water or flour. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly mixed.
Once the dough as rested, roll out until very thin with a rolling pin or run it through the lowest setting of a pasta maker until it is quite thin, but not falling apart.
With a glass or jar or cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough and set aside. Fill each circle with about half a teaspoon of filling (depending on the size of your circles). Fold circles in half, and then bring the ends to the front and pinch to a closure. Repeat until all the circles have been filled.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then add the tortellini. Let them cook until they rise to the top of the water, about 3 minutes. Drain, and serve in the broth below. Alternately, you could melt some butter, saute shallots, garlic, sage, salt and pepper, and then reduce a bit of stock in the pan until you create a nice, light sauce to serve over the tortellini.
Simple Garlic Broth
from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
8 c. vegetable stock
3 tbsp. garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 sprig fresh sage
1 sprig fresh thyme
several sprigs parsley
salt and pepper
In a large pot, warm the olive oil and saute garlic until soft, a few minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Tie the herbs with a string at their stems and add the bouquet to the pot. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bouquet and season with salt and pepper.