So I’m just back from 10 days in Puglia – Southern Italy – my Sister’s home and my second home! I’ve been back and forward to Italy for the last 30+ years and during that time I’ve had the honor to cook, be cooked for and most recently be invited to work in a kitchen with two incredible cooks Dora and Luciana at an amazing Masseria just outside of Ostuni.
My frequent trips to Italy have formed my attitude to food – and life in general if I’m honest – and each time I go back I learn more and more and more. This time I was given a master class in a professional Italian kitchen (and when I say I was given a master class what I mean is these two rock stars handed me my arse on a plate!)
I spent the day with Dora and Luciana making pasta (Orecchiette) and stuffed veal …..along with Polpetta, Fried Aubergine and Courgette, deep-fried mussels and Octopus – the list was fairly endless!! And to be honest the only real way you can possibly learn how to make pasta properly is from someone who knows. It’s all about the feel – you need to develop a touch and an instinct for it – recipes on blogs and books are a great start but they should really prompt you to go learn. Take it from me, I’ve been making pasta for about 20 years at this stage and I still learn each time I’m in an Italian kitchen – and these two cheeky pups took absolutely no prisoners with me!!
So this recipe was bubbling around in my head the whole way home – I wanted to show you something that was a step up from the simple Ravioli, something more technical and adult which is why I’ve added step by step pics (something I don’t ordinarily do) – Salute :o)
WHAT YOU NEED – serves 4 (this is rich)
for the pasta
1lb ’00’ flour
7 medium free range eggs
for the filling
2 mantovana sausages – skinned and crumbled
1 medium aubergine finely diced
for the dressing
20 grams butter
Flat leaf parsley and fresh oregano
HOW YOU DO IT
Step 1: make the pasta (recipe here)
Step 2: fry the sausage meat in a little olive oil (no need for seasoning, this is rich). after 2-3 minutes add the diced aubergine and cook out until soft.
Step 3: Add the mix to a bow and blitz to a paste – not to fine, leave some texture
Step 4: Put the pasta dough through your pasta machine all the way down to its finest setting then cut into square about 10cms x 10cms
Step 5: now build your Tortelloni – add a spoon full of the mix…..
Step 6: Corner to corner and press out all of the air….
Step 7: Bring the ‘wings’ together to form the finish Tortelloni
Step 8: Repeat :0) – I fold the tips down for easy storage if freezing – which they do really well!
Step 9: If you are cooking now then get a deep pan of salted water on the boil and drop in the Tortellonis – when they float they are done – about 2 minutes.
Step 10: as the pasta cooks simply melt the butter, add the parsley and oregano and combine.
To serve simply add the cooked Tortellonis to a dish and nap over the herbed butter finishing with a flourish of Pecorino cheese.
Done deal – although I reckon my adopted Nonnas Dora and Lucianna might have a comment or 7!!
A punchy Pugliese beer, very crisp with a tiny little twang – little known outside of Italy but of you can get it grab a bunch of it!