Monday, April 30, 2012

weekend spoils: fresh tortellini

Go gently.

Breathe deeply.

Slow down.

So over the weekend, I did. I drew inspiration from this lovely lady's Sunday adventures, and decided, I can do that. I can use the weekend hours to prepare for the week ahead. I can make yummy things to have ready in the fridge and pantry, and try to reduce my kitchen stress through the week (as well as reduce our chances of succumbing to the lure of easy takeaway).

And I made pasta.

I have a theory that a real, Italian mama is lurking in my genetic makeup somewhere, and she emerges as the weather cools each year. She likes stirring things, but only with wooden spoons, and has dustings of flour in her hair. Her favourite pot is red and heavy, and she doesn't mind that the baby pulls out all the pots and pans to play music at her feet. She makes soulful, hearty food for those she loves, and relishes in the praise heaped on her delicious offerings.

I love Italian mama me. I want to be more like her every day. Perhaps I should make more pasta?

Here's what I did:
Add eggs to flour. Tipo 00 strong flour if you can get it, but plain white flour is what I had. Large, free range eggs. Now, the ratio depends on the weather where you are, the eggs, your hands, so you will have to be prepared to play. I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe from jamie at home, but without scales, converting 600grams of flour to cups can be tricky. For a silkier pasta, Jamie recommends replacing one of two of the 6 eggs with 2 egg yolks per egg. For me, I think the recipe I will use next time (after nearly throwing this dough in the bin!) would be 4 cups flour, 5 eggs, 2 egg yolks. Crack the eggs into a well in the flour, stir with a fork, carefully bringing in the flour until a ball forms. Knead like crazy. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours. Roll out in your pasta machine, then cut into rectangles or squares. Add your filling, brush the edges with water to seal. I used some roast pumpkin, cooked silverbeet and ricotta in this lot. You can pretty much use anything. Press down, cupping the filling with your pinky to press out air bubbles. Dust in flour and put aside to rest a little.
Drop the little pillows in boiling water- not too many at a time! They will take about 6-7 minutes to cook, depending on how thin you rolled your pasta. Let them drain (but don't rinse them!) Serve with a simple sauce.
Awesome little people food.
This effort made an absolute glutton of pasta. We had enough tortellini for two meals, and that was only using half the dough! I am going to roll out the rest into tagliatelle or just lasagne sheets and freeze for another time.
Happy tortellini pillows, nestled in their bed, ready for the freezer. I usually have a packet of commercial fresh pasta in the fridge/ freezer. We call it Emergency Pasta because I cook it on those days when I have no puff left to cook dinner. But the home-made stuff tastes a whole lot better, and is way more filling.

Stuff I learned:
  • Fresh pasta is not a mid-week meal. Definitely save it for the weekend.
  • Pasta dough does not keep in the fridge any more than 24 hours. It gets black dots and goes gross.
  • If making filled pasta, lay it out flat somewhere coolish. Do not, as I did, just pile it up on a plate. Which is sitting on the oven. Which is turned on. And then cry as you throw a gluey mess into the bin.
  • Small children love to turn the crank on the pasta roller. The wrong way.
On the dinner menu this week:
Hearty Beef Casserole (already slow slow cooked it on Sunday)
Spag Bol (can use some of my fresh pasta!)
Chicken and Chickpea Bake
Stir Fry with Awesome Sauce
Home Made pizza
Minestrone soup (or as I like to call it, Dead Veggie Soup)
For the lunchboxes:
100s of biscuits (at big boy's request)
Banana bread or cake or something (thanks, two squidgy bananas in my fruit bowl)

And a whole heap of yummies for the little one's first birthday party, looming on Sunday. I hope Italian Mama Me hangs around this week. I may have to call on Nona too. You busy, Mum?


  1. Good on you! And great pics! My Mum recently gave me her pasta roller with heaps of attachments and I really need to get round to making something like this - thanks for the inspiration - I will be bookmarking this and popping back when I do. Love the new look of your blog btw :)

  2. Right. That does it. I'm tuning into my inner Italian (there isn't a smidgeon, genetically speaking) on weekends. YUM!



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