I’ve been making a lot of pasta of late in preparation for an upcoming class and I thought I’d give you a glimpse at what I worked on yesterday afternoon.
I was shaping tortellini, which is an interesting process. I made the pasta dough on Sunday and put it in the refrigerator. Just before I left for work late yesterday morning I took the dough out of the fridge so it would come to room temperature by the time I arrived home in the afternoon. My timing was just right – by the time I got home the pasta was perfectly pliable.
I started by dividing the ball of dough into 6 pieces and, working with one piece at a time, I began rolling the sheets of pasta that would be cut into pieces for tortellini. I rolled each piece of dough two times on each of the settings 1 through 6 on the pasta machine, for a total of 12 passes through the pasta machine. This resulted in a very thin, very pliable dough.
Next, using a pizza cutter, I cut each of the sheets into 2.5″ strips (one was wide enough to cut into two 2.5″ strips, but the others allowed for only one strip).
Then I cut the strips into squares.
For the next step, using clean fingers instead of a small brush (one less thing to wash), I “painted” two of the edges with water, which acts like glue to hold the filling inside the tortellini. Then I placed a small dollop of filling in the center of each pasta square.
Folding was next. First, I folded the “dry edges” over the “wet edges” and I used my pastry scraper to gently press the edges together to seal them. The next fold was to take the point of the triangle and fold it so that it slightly overlapped the longest edge of the triangle.
The final fold required the pointer finger to act as a spacer. The way I did it was to hold the pasta between my thumb and pointer finger of my left hand with the point closest to my pointer finger. Then I used my right hand to shape the pasta around my finger. I took one end around to the nail side of my pointer finger and then did the same with other side so the points overlapped. Then I pressed the ends together and tucked them under, doing a final press to make sure they were sealed.
After each tortellini was formed, I put it onto a sheet tray that ultimately went into the freezer until the tortellini were firm, after which I put them into a zip top bag and stored them in the freezer.
Note: I ended up with a lot of “scrap” dough (not unusual), which I never scrap. I cut it into pieces and will cook it when I’m looking for a fast dinner. Yesterday, I played a little with the scraps and made some farfalle or bow-tie pasta.
Mmm mmm mmm! Happy tortellini’ing!
Have you ever made homemade tortellini? How’d they turn out? What did you fill them with?