the recipe for a rich and tasty first course

Veneto boasts a rich oenological tradition, which goes hand in hand with the gastronomic one; Veneto wines represent a product of excellence within the Italian panorama, and it is not surprising how many of them are also used in the kitchen for the preparation of traditional dishes.

It is the case of the “Tortelli with Amarone” which, as you can easily guess, are so called for the use of one of the finest wines among those produced in Veneto: theAmarone della Valpolicella. For lovers of fresh stuffed pasta – and good wine – they certainly represent an interesting option, to offer for a lunch with family or friends: in this article, we’ll see the recipe for cooking them at their best.

The necessary ingredients

For the preparation ofdough of six portions of tortelli you need:

  • 500 g of flour;
  • 375 ml of Amarone of Valpolicella.

For what concern stuffedthere are two options:

  • filling of ricotta, spinach (o herbs) e parmigianoto which to add nutmeg;
  • meat stuffing; traditionally, one uses a braised with Amarone, to be prepared separately before starting to knead the tortelli. They are needed onion chopped and clovesplus at least another 250 ml of wine.
Homemade ricotta
Homemade ricotta

The creaminghowever, can be done with butter and sage (for tortelli stuffed with ricotta), or with a sauce based on braised meat and Amarone (about 300 ml further). Such preparation also requires the addition of burro and half a spoonful of cornstarchto be used as a thickener.

Regardless of the ‘variant’ chosen, it is important to have one or two bottles of Amarone della Valpolicella available; since it is a fine wine, it is not difficult to find it in a wine shop or wine bar; alternatively, you can consult a specialized e-commerce such as Vinebriaespecially if you are having trouble finding a good label at local retailers.

How to prepare the dough

After having set up a work plan to knead comfortably, you can proceed with the first preparation.

Once the flour is poured onto a pastry board or a clean, dry shelf, the classic ‘fountain’ is created, in the center of which the Amarone is gradually added. The wine should be incorporated progressively with the flour, in order to obtain a homogeneous mixture, in terms of consistency and color (the presence of Amarone gives a characteristic purplish hue to the tortelli). If the dough is too soft, add a little flour to make it firmer. Once this operation is completed, the dough should be left to rest in the fridge, covered with a film, for at least two hours; in the meantime, you can dedicate yourself to the filling.

The preparation of the filling

As mentioned, for the filling of the tortelli it is possible to choose between a filling with braised meat and one with ricotta and spinach. Let’s start with the latter:

  • sauté the spinach or herbs in a pan, without seasoning;
  • in a large bowl, combine the spinach with the cow’s milk ricotta and the Parmesan; season with salt and pepper to taste, adding a pinch of nutmeg and mix until a homogeneous mixture is obtained.

If you prefer a meat filling, the advice is to prepare the braised meat and stock before mixing, following these steps:

  • heat some oil or butter in a pan;
  • brown a chopped onion;
  • add the diced beef and let it brown for a few minutes;
  • cover with Amarone and add a few cloves;
  • season with salt and pepper and leave to cook until the wine has evaporated by two thirds;
  • when the meat is cooked, pass it to the mixer to obtain the dough for the filling, adjusting with salt and pepper if necessary.

Filling and seasoning

After two hours in the fridge, the dough can be worked, with a rolling pin or by machine, until obtaining a homogeneous sheet, about 2 mm thick. At this point, the steps to take are:

  • cut a strip of pastry about 10 cm wide;
  • place a scoop of filling on the pastry, using a teaspoon;
  • cut the dough into squares, ensuring that the filling is ‘centred’;
  • wet the edges with water and close the tortello;
  • boil in salted water for a few minutes and stir in the sauce.

For the tortelli stuffed with ricotta and herbs, simply melt a knob of butter in a pan, adding a few sage leaves. Those filled with braised meat are served with a sauce, to be prepared by adding butter, Amarone and cornstarch to the cooking liquid; Once the ingredients are mixed, you can proceed with creaming the tortelli before serving.

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