Last week I posted a recipe for Tortellini Pasticcio. What I did not mention in that post is that the tortellini I used were homemade. I had still been tweaking the recipe for the filling and wanted to wait until I settled on a final combination of meats before I shared it. The filling that I prefer contains ground veal with some pancetta. It makes a nice light but flavorful tortellini that is equally at home in a cream sauce like the Tortellini alla Panna pictured above or floating in a simple chicken broth to make Tortellini in Brodo.
2 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/8 pound pancetta, chopped coarsely
1 pound ground veal
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
6 large eggs
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Make The Filling:
Melt the butter in a medium sautè pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent.
Add the pancetta and cook for 1 minute, then add the ground veal and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the veal is browned through, about 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer the cooked meat mixture to a food processor, add 2 of the eggs and Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese and pulse until well blended. Cover and refrigerate while you make the pasta.
Make The Pasta:
In a large bowl, add 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, and make a well in the center. Break the remaining 4 eggs into the well. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork for about 1 minute, then start to work a little of the flour from the edges in to the eggs, until the eggs are no longer runny. Using your hands mix the flour and eggs thoroughly into a ball. If dough is too wet, and you are having trouble forming it into a ball add half of the remaining flour. If it is still not working out add the rest of the flour, but you should not need more than that.
Transfer the ball to a lightly floured work surface and knead: flatten the dough with the palm of your hands, fold it back towards you, rotate it a half turn and repeat. Continue this process for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and firm. Shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Anchor the pasta machine to your work surface following the manufacturer’s instructions, and set the rollers to the widest setting. Cut the ball into 4 pieces. Take one piece and flatten it into a half-inch disk. Pass the disk through the rollers, turning the crank with your hand. Fold the dough into thirds and roll again. Repeat this 2 more times.
Move the dial to the next notch, narrowing the rollers and run the dough through them. Continue this process, narrowing the rollers by one setting on the dial each time until you reach the second to last setting. Lay the flattened dough to the side and repeat the procedure with the other 3 pieces. To save space you can stack the rolled out sheets of pasta on top of each other, separating them with kitchen towels.
Stuff and Shape the Tortellini:
Working with 1 sheet of pasta at a time, cut them into 2 inch squares. Brush the tops of the squares lightly with water (this will help them form a seal when you shape the tortellini, and also make the pasta easier to work with if it has dried out too much). Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square and fold one corner over the filling, forming a triangle.
Press down around the filling, eliminating any air pockets and sealing the triangle. Wrap each triangle around your little finger pressing the opposing corners together to make a circle, and curl the top point back slightly. Place the shaped tortellini on a lightly floured baking dish in a single layer.