The Reluctant Blogger

Dark Days Week 6: Tortellini
January 3, 2012, 7:21 am
Filed under: Dark Days, Pasta, Vegetarian

I’m not sure any Italian would recognize these as tortellini (maybe tortellini made by a child?) but nonetheless that’s what I’m calling them. I’m on a mission to clean out my freezers this month, so when I found a bag of nettles I’d harvested from the backyard last spring stashed away in the bottom of the freezer, I pulled it out to start defrosting while I turned a quart of jersey milk from Dungeness Valley Creamery into ricotta. Mixed with a little salt and a couple of cloves of finely minced garlic, I had the perfect filling for pasta. After a less-than-successful attempt at ravioli that left me with a split open, gloopy (albeit delicious) mess the last time I attempted filled pasta, I decided to try my hand at something that seemed a bit sturdier.

I’ve found the food processor to be my most successful pasta dough mixer, just pulsing the dough and adding a teaspoon of water at a time if/as necessary, until it looks like kind of like peas. My standard pasta recipe is 250 grams of flour to three eggs, plus a pinch of salt. Depending on the size of the eggs, you may not need to add any water. After a couple hours in the refrigerator, my dough was ready to roll out.

While I rolled and filled the pasta, I simmered my go-to tomato sauce: one small chopped onion, one pint of tomatoes, and a 2-3 Tbsp chunk of butter, simmered for an hour or so over medium low heat. It’s my adaptation of the oft-raved about Marcella Hazan simple tomato sauce (I don’t like discarding the onion, so just chop it up from the start, and I use less butter), and you can find a batch of it simmering on my stove nearly every week for one use or another (a favorite use is to dip toast in it for a relatively light and very satisfying lunch or dinner; it’s also a great sauce for lasagna and has become the basis of my sauce for spaghetti and meatballs).

Once the pasta was shaped (and started sticking and ripping, leading me to fear another gloopy mess), I brought a pan of water to a gentle boil, dropped the pasta in for a couple of minutes (until it floated), then fished it out and topped it with the sauce and a little parmesan. It didn’t split! With some toasted cibatta (for sopping up every last drop of the tomato sauce) and a bottle of sparkling rose, it was a dinner worthy of a celebration – even if that celebration was just another day ended with a delicious dinner.

Pasta: Flour from Fairhaven Mill (Bellingham, WA), eggs from Wilcox* (Roy, WA), homemade ricotta from Dungeness Valley Creamery milk (Sequim, WA), nettles from my backyard via the freezer, garlic from Filaree Garlic Farm (Okanogan, WA), parmesan from Beecher’s (Seattle, WA)
Bread: Flour from Fairhaven
Tomato sauce: Onions from Andersen Organics (Othello, WA) via Full Circle, tomatoes from Tonnemaker Hill Farm (Royal City, WA) via my pantry
Mountain Dome Brut Rose (Spokane, WA – outside the radius, but close enough for me) via my friend Paul’s Full Pull Wines
Exceptions: butter in the tomato sauce (organic, but not local), salt, yeast in the bread, olive oil

*Unfortunately the last three times I’ve stopped at the Dragoun’s Lair to pick up farm eggs, there haven’t been any, so I had to resort to grocery store eggs for this. It has been a LONG time since I’ve bought eggs at the grocery store, and luckily since the last time I checked, the egg options at my local QFC have improved slightly so I was able to get Wilcox brown organic eggs. Not ideal, but at least they are local (Roy, WA), and a better option than the standard grocery eggs from who knows where. We don’t go through that many eggs, and I often don’t have any eggs in the fridge, so it’s nice to know I have a reasonable option if I can’t get my preferred farm eggs and need eggs for one reason or another.


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[…] If her holidays weren’t full enough, she also managed to set aside some time to make some homemade tortellini with homegrown nettles and homemade ricotta cheese. Wowee! The Luscious Domestic worked on warming […]

Pingback by Dark Days Challenge recap: Week 6 WEST group « Not Dabbling In Normal

I am no expert on tortellini, but these look delicious. I am convinced that you need old-world grandmothers to show you how to make these kinds of things look and taste the way you expect. I haven’t tried tortellini, but my attempts at pierogies have looked pathetic, so I think these look great!

Comment by Nico('s Tiny Kitchen)

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