This filled pasta dish is a speciality of Parma, It is often enjoyed on San Giovanni Day on 24 June to celebrate the summer solstice. Traditionally, a mixture of sheep’s and cow’s milk ricotta is combined with Parmigiano-Reggiano for a balance of salty, savoury and sweet flavours. The greens in the filling can vary from young Swiss chard to spinach, but here, Matteo uses stinging nettle.
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 300 g stinging nettle (see Note) or English spinach, stems discarded
- 250 g fresh ricotta, drained
- 1 egg
- 150 g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra, to serve
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- semolina, to dust
- 100 g unsalted butter
- ½ cup sage leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 20 minutes
Drink match 2011 Chrismont La Zona Arneis, King Valley, Vic ($22)
Mound flour on a clean work surface, make a well in centre, then break eggs into it. Using a fork, draw in flour, working from the centre outwards, then using your hands, work in remaining flour. Knead dough for 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Enclose in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch stinging nettle for 1 minute. Drain, refresh in cold water, squeezing out any excess liquid, then finely chop. Combine in a bowl with ricotta, egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Divide dough in half and, using a rolling pin, roll out each piece until 5 mm thick and about 12 cm wide – nearly the width of your pasta machine. Set your pasta machine at its widest setting, then feed through dough, narrowing the settings one notch at a time until you reach the thinnest setting.
To make tortelli, place 1 pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Place 2 tsp ricotta filling at 5 cm intervals on pasta sheet to make 20 tortelli. Dampen edges around each portion of filling and carefully top with second sheet of pasta, pressing around filling to remove any air pockets. Press edges to seal. Cut into squares and place on a tray scattered with semolina to absorb excess moisture. Cook tortelli in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, cook butter in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes or until light brown. Add sage leaves and cook for a further minute or until crisp. Remove from heat.
Add tortelli to butter and sage, tossing gently to combine. Serve scattered with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano.
• Order stinging nettle from select greengrocers.
Photography Brett Stevens