Cheers to Maremma! Must try: Heidi Ruggier’s Tortelli with Pecorino Toscano
Attention cheese lovers, pasta lovers & Italian food lovers – here’s a great way to combine all three of your passions!
Following the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario (ICCO)’s once-in-a-lifetime Pecorino Toscano trip to Massa Marittima in southern Tuscany, Matte PR’s founder and president, Heidi Ruggier, has put together a Tortelli recipe inspired by a cooking class she, Claire Tansey, Jason Skrobar and Afrim Pristine attended with Chef Matteo Donati of Donati Restaurant.
And speaking of Afrim, you can head to Cheese Boutique to pick up all the Pecorino Toscano you’ll need for this simple yet mouth-watering recipe.
This recipe serves 4 people
For the pasta:
- 2 ½ cups of semolina flour
- 3 eggs
For the filling:
- 1 cup fresh Pecorino Toscano
- ½ cup aged Pecorino Toscano
- ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese (Sheepsmilk if available)
- 2 cups of spinach leaves
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
For the sauce:
- 4tsp butter, minimum
- 20 leaves of fresh sage
- Pinch of salt
Preparing the pasta:
Pour 2 ½ cups of semolina flour on a large board, best if wooden. Don’t use all-purpose flour. You won’t get the same chew. So just don’t.
Once your two cups of flour are on your large wooden board, create a “volcano” and make a mountain with a hole in the centre. Then crack 3 eggs into centre of the flour. Yesssss. Next, slowly beat the eggs with a fork. Be gentle. When the eggs are blended, enjoy the process of slowly folding the eggs in to the flour. Fold in a little bit of flour at a time. Don’t rush. When the eggs are completely folded into the flour, knead the dough until obtaining a consistent density. Continue to knead for 10 minutes with your hands. Resist your Kitchen Aid.
Create a smooth and elastic ball, then place into a ceramic bowl. Don’t wrap it in plastic wrap, as some recipe’s call for. There was no plastic in ancient Rome. You don’t need it. Store your precious dough ball in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Preparing the filling:
Grate the fresh and aged Pecorino Toscano. I love the original Zyliss rotary cheese grater. If you don’t have one, you need one.
Then, mix it with the ricotta cheese and the egg. Let it sit for 20 minutes in the fridge. Skip the plastic wrap again and cover your bowl with a plate.
Blanch the spinach and squeeze out all the liquid. Do not miss this ‘squeeze’ step, you’ll regret it.
Roll the dough:
Dust your wooden board and your rolling pin with a bit of flour. Then place the dough on the board. Beat the dough lightly to flatten its shape, and then roll into a very thin pasta layer. Good luck. Be patient. If you prefer, use a pasta maker instead of the rolling pin.
Make the Tortelli:
Lay your freshly rolled sheet of pasta on to your wooden board. Spoon your ricotta on to the dough leaving three inches on the bottom and one in between. Once your row is complete, fold the three inches of dough at the bottom over the ricotta. Cut the pieces into individual Tortelli, ready for the taking. Seal each Tortelli with a fork by gently pressing down the edges. Don’t poke through. Don’t mess it up! We’ve come too far.
Preparing the sauce:
Now for the best part. The sage and butter sauce.
In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter, add a pinch of salt and crisp the sage leaves over a very low flame. After butter has melted, cook for 10-15 minutes. Do not allow butter to burn (just brown it). Toss piping hot pasta with butter sauce and Pecorino Toscano. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper.
Enjoy! Follow Heidi Ruggier on Instagram @heidiruggier.