Agnolotti, Ravioli and Tortellini come in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes as well as fillings. This traditional 3 cheese and herb filling is simple to make and perfect in a pasta sauce or floated in a soup/broth. Generally, the basics are as follows:
- for ravioli – take a thin sheet of pasta dough, placing small dollops of filling at regular intervals across its surface and then fold or cover those dollops with another sheet of pasta, so the pasta seals tightly around the filling.
- for agnolotti and tortellini – you cut the sheet of pasta into a number of squares or discs and then,
a. for agnolotti – place a dollop of filling on one half of the square or disc and then fold it in half to cover the filling and seal it.
b. for tortellini – make an agnolotto (plural), and then twist the longest edge so the two ends meet and press together to join them.
Serves 6 – 8
Ingredients – Basic Pasta Dough
2 cups plain flour
a pinch of salt
a little water
a drizzle of olive oil
1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and make a small well at its centre.
2. Crack the egg into the well and drizzle a little olive oil over the egg. Slowly work the flour into the egg and oil so they combine.
3. Once no further flour can be taken up by the egg/oil ingredients commence to add a little water at a time (working the ingredients together) until you have a solid ball of dough and no excess flour.
4. Turn the ball onto a board and knead it well for 5 minutes or until it has a smooth texture and an even colour.
5. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Once the dough has proved, it is ready to be used as you wish – making sheets of pasta using a rolling pin, a pasta rolling machine or hand forming it to your needs.
Ingredients – Three Cheese and Herb Filling
150 grams ricotta cheese
100 grams grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
100 grams grated mozzarella cheese
½ a cup chopped fresh basil
½ a cup chopped fresh parsley
good pinch of salt and pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg.
1. Prepare the basic pasta dough mix and form it into a number of thin pasta sheets. The sheets should be the thinnest you can make (less than 1mm).
2. Lay them out on a tea towel and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
3. Next determine size and shape of the ravioli, agnolotti or tortellini you wish to make. Using a square or circular pastry cutter, cut the sheet into a number of squares or discs.
4a. For ravioli place a dollop of the filling in the centre of the square or disc,
4b. Brush the edges with water or egg wash and then cover the filling with another square or disc of pasta.
4c. Press the edges of the two pasta squares or discs together, trying to work from the filling outwards to expel all the air and seal them together. Repeat until all the pasta and filling are used.
5a. For agnolotti take a square or disc of pasta and place a dollop of filling in either half of the shape.
5b. then egg wash around the filling and fold the un-filled pasta half of the square or disc over the filling and seal similar to making ravioli.
Your finished agnolotti will be either a semi-circle or a triangle.
5c. Repeat until all the pasta and filling are used.
6a. To convert an agnolotto (plural) into a tortellini, take the longest edge of the semi-circle or triangle and bend the two outer points towards each other (I often do this by bending the edge around a finger or chopstick).
6b. When the two end points meet, push them together so they join.
6c. If you like you can take a further step and fold the upper point over so the tortellini looks like a ring.
6d. Repeat until all the pasta and filling are used.
7. Once all pasta and filling have been turned into ravioli, agnolotti or tortellini and you are ready to cook and eat. You need to prepare a sauce to coat the filled pasta shapes and you need to cook them. See my red Calabrese pasta sauce as a suggestion [CLICK HERE]
8. To cook the filled pasta shapes – place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Add a very generous pinch of salt to the water and let it come to a rolling boil.
9. When at a boiling vigorously, gently drop the ravioli, agnolotti or tortellini into the water and cook for approximately 8 – 10 minutes.
Much is said about all types of pasta shapes and dumplings being cooked when they float to the surface but this is rarely true – it depends on the thickness of the pasta, the number of eggs used in the recipe and the filling. The only true way to know if they are cooked to your liking is to taste one.
10. Once cooked, drain the water and coat in your preferred sauce or float them in a soup.