I was so thrilled that I managed to make my own cheese. The question was what to do with it? When I think of ricotta, spinach usually comes to mind. However I didn’t have any on hand and my fridge was bulging at the seams with other ingredients. So I though my best laid plan would be to make a three cheese tortellini. I could have used some of the gouda I procured in Vietnam to make it four cheese tortellini but I have other plans for the gouda, so I settled for a trio of cheeses.
The pasta dough was actually very simple to make, I’m surprised I’ve never had a go at it before. It has definitely been a week full of firsts. Sadly I do not possess a pasta machine so I was stuck with rolling it out by hand, although I was actually quite pleased with the results. The trick is getting it wafer thin so you can see the surface below through it. My second batch were definitely far superior to my first, so I guess there is a learning curve involved. When I tried to reroll the scraps I could not get them as thin as the first time. so I may well invest in a pasta maker very soon, though it is certainly not necessary.
250g of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
3 Cheese filling
300g of ricotta cheese (make it yourself using my recipe)
A generous amount of grated parmesan
20 -30 cherry tomatoes (I didn’t count I’m afraid)
1/2 an onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper
A glug of olive oil
A teaspoon of sugar
A pinch of salt and pepper
A teaspoon of mixed herbs
A few fresh basil leaves if you have them.
The first step is to make the pasta dough. Mix the salt with the flour then make a heap on a clean flat surface. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in your beaten eggs. I havent taken any pictures of these steps, I’m sure you have seen it countless times before. Stir the egg gradually incorporating the flour from the sides of the circle a bit at a time so the well keeps its shape until the last moment. When all the flour has been mixed in you should have a lump of dough. Knead this dough for 5- 10 minutes until it is elastic and has some stretch to it. Wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge for 30 minutes. While you are waiting you can make the filling and sauce.
After the dough has been chilled properly you can begin to roll it out. It’s a good idea to separate your lump of dough into 2 or 3 pieces and work with one piece at a time. Put the unused lumps back in the fridge so they don’t dry out. If you have a pasta maker rolling the dough should be quick and easy. If not roll those sleeves up and get out your rolling-pin. The pasta really does need to be wafer thin, so when you think its thin enough, keep rolling. I read online that it should be thin enough so that you can see a playing card underneath the dough. The thinner your pasta the better it will taste. Even if the pasta is a little thick it’s not the end of the world but the skinny ones were definitely far tastier than the fatties. You can use anything round to cut the tortellini shapes, I just used a regular paper cup, with a diameter of 7 centimeters. I found that this was a good size. I tried a smaller cup too but I found they were quite fiddly to make, plus you would have to make more of them too. When your circles are all cut, put a bit of filling in the middle of the circle. About half a teaspoon.
Fold the circle over so it makes a half moon shape. Squeeze the edges of the pasta together all around the filling, so the lump is secured. Bring the two edges together so it makes the shape below.
Put the tortellini on a floured plate to dry out.
On to the filling. Put your ricotta in a bowl and add the other cheeses and a beaten egg and mix it all together.
The sauce is incredibly easy to make just bung everything in the blender and mix until all the ingredients have been pulverized. Heat the sauce up in a saucepan until its bubbling.