Traditional Tortellini

Homemade Authentic Tortellini
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Description: Tortellini are small ring shaped pasta filled with a savory meat filling. If following the traditional way, tortellini is a 4 day process. Two days to let the pork marinate, 1 day for the filling to sit in the fridge then made the 4th day. You could rush the timing but the full flavors won’t develop as much.

Dough: Egg Pasta Dough

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Traditional Sauce: Typically the broth is “brodo in terza”, a broth consisting of three meats; beef, capon and pork. Recently they can be found in a cream and parmesan sauce, but purist insist they must be eaten in broth.

Our recipe here for brodo in terza.

Notes: The history of tortellini is quite fascinating and ripe with controversy and battling over the origin (Bologna or Modena). Regardless, tortellini are a very old pasta with mentions going back to the 16th century. Legend suggests the shape comes from the goddess Venus’ navel.

This recipe is based off the registered authentic recipe from the Confraternita del Tortellino (Brotherhood of the tortellini) that was registered with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce in 1974. This recipe makes roughly 350 tortellini.

Traditional Tortellini

Prep Time 2 hrs Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Homemade tortellini filled with pork, prosciutto, mortadella, parmigiano-reggiano and nutmeg. 





Prepare the filling

  1. Prepare the pork

    The pork needs to be prepared 2 days ahead of time. Generously season both sides of the pork with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. After 2 days place the pork in a saucepan with a teaspoon of butter on 350. Let cook for 15 minutes or until the pork reaches 160 F. 

    If you don't have 2 days to wait, you can let it rest for at least a couple hours or overnight.
  2. Chop the meat

    Remove the seasoning from the pork. Thinly chop the pork, prosciutto and mortadella.  

  3. Blend the meat

    It is important to get the meat into a paste. You could keep chopping but it is best to put the meat into a food processor and blitz to form a  paste. 

  4. Finish the filing

    To the meat filling add the parmigiano-reggiano, egg and nutmeg.  Mix thoroughly, cover and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours.  

Prepare the Pasta

  1. Prepare the dough

    Using a large bowl and forming the flour into a well, crack in the eggs and slowly bring together. If the dough seems dry add more water. Knead for around 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. Cover and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

    Eggs are not all created equal and have different weights. Try to aim for 60% hydration for this dough. This means for 300 grams of flour aim for 180 grams of eggs. If your eggs are on the smaller size you can use water to bring it up to the 180 gram
  2. Roll out the pasta dough

    Once dough is rested cut into 4. Ensure to keep the pieces you are not working with covered so they do not dry out. Using a rolling pin or pasta sheeter roll each piece to the around 1mm. Dust with flour as needed to avoid the dough from sticking. 

Shape the Tortellini

  1. Cut the pasta dough

    Using a bicicletta or pasta cutter, cut the pasta sheets into 3 cm squares. 

  2. Add the filling

    In the center of each square add a small hazelnut size piece of filling. 

  3. Shape the tortellini

    Fold the tortellini to form a triangle, pressing out the air and press the filling to the center. Slightly fold the triangle tip towards the center then wrap the other 2 ends around your finger to form a ring. 

    Continue until one sheet is done and move to the next. You can use right away or freeze. 

    See gallery for more detailed pictures. If you are a bit slower, cut the pasta into smaller pieces as the dough with the filling will start to dry out and not stick. If the dough is not sticking together add a drop of water to make it stick together.

Cook the tortellini

  1. Cook the tortellini

    Simmer in broth for 5 minutes fresh or 10 minutes frozen. 

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