How to make Tortellini – Save the Rhinos
Tortellini, joyous little bites of flavor, are a favorite meal even for the most finicky of kids and adults alike. In all my years in Italy I have yet to find someone who does not like Tortellini. They may not like the way they are served but they always like Tortellini. For the novice cook Tortellini are intimidating, that is until they make them once or twice. How are Tortellini made?
They are simply fresh pasta, cut into disks, filled with just about anything, and folded tightly. In Italy you can find hundreds of types of freshly prepared and industrial tortellini but the best are the ones you make at home. They take a little time and patience, each Tortellino must be folded by hand; do not buy the Tortellini at home machines, they do not work. It takes one person about 35 minutes to make enough Tortellini for a family of four.
Last night we watched a show about young elephants going into must 10 years before their natural time. The show revealed that they were part of a group of young elephants transferred to a new park in an effort to control the population in a larger reserve. These elephants took on many unnatural habits like killing rhinoceros just because they were in the elephant’s water hole. This violent behavior is very unusual for elephants. To make a long story short, these young elephants had been separated from the herds and did not have the advantage of the family support groups. To resolve the problem they brought in older elephants from the established parks and in a short period of time the young ones hooked up with their older counterparts and left their violent ways.
Folding Tortellini with your kids or partner may be a great way to spend a little time together and teach them the things they need to know about life. I know, video games, television and the Internet may seem more interesting but, over time, cooking as a family can have significant benefits and may keep your little elephant from killing some rhinoceros just because they are standing in the same hallway.
400 g Fresh Pasta (4 eggs)
400 g Filling (there are numerous fillings like Tortellini in Brodo)
Roll the pasta very thin. You should be able to see through the pasta and if the consistency is correct the pasta will not break when folded. If the pasta breaks then use slightly thicker setting on the pasta roller. I have found that 90% of the time I can use 7 sometimes when the pasta is too wet or too dry I have to use 6.
The dryer the filling the better, Parmesan cheese will help if the filling if it is very wet. Most recipes will say to use water or egg wash on one part of the fold to help close the Tortellino. I usually do this even though properly prepared pasta will hold without the egg wash.
Cut one 12 inch long sheet of pasta into 3 inch disks. It should make between 7-9 disks.
Roll ½ teaspoon of filling into a tight ball and place in the center of the disk. Brush egg-wash or water on the outer edge of ½ of the disk.
Fold the pasta over the filling creating a semicircle. The top edge should be about ¼ inch inside the lower edge.
Fold the excess pasta around the semicircle down over the filling to create a pyramid.
Fold the outside edges toward the center. The Tortellino will take the shape of a B2 Bomber.
Brush the area covering the filling with water or egg wash and fold to the center the side edges and press.
Place the finished Tortellino on a floured baking pan. If prepared several hours before hand place in the refrigerator.
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