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Tortelli, Tortellini And More, Oh My! At the Ristorante Alla Borsa

Ristorante alla Borsa

Ristorante alla Borsa

The Ristorante Alla Borsa, in the heart of Valleggio Sul Mincio (a town on the banks of the river that drains Lake Garda) is famed for its stuffed pasta, in particular its tortellini Nido D’Amore, which have a very thin pasta shell, and are made with several kinds of meat, but no cheese. They are — there’s no getting around it — extraordinarily good, but are far from the only kind of stuffed pasta to emerge from the restaurant kitchens.

And it is precisely this variety that led Angelo and Paola to organize a “Verticale di Tortellini” for the first night of this year’s Bardolino presentation, accompanying a number of the various kinds of stuffed pasta with Bardolino Chiaretto and Bardolino from the area around Valleggio. It was a stunning evening during which most of us ate entirely too much, because stuffed pasta is very much like cherries: Uno tira l’altro, One morsel invites another.

Ristorante alla Borsa Fried Tortellini

Ristorante alla Borsa Fried Tortellini

We began with fried tortellini, which are decidedly untraditional but a great favorite of Angelo’s, and quickly became a favorite of the rest of us too.

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortellini Nodo d'Amore with Butter

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortellini Nodo d’Amore with Butter

Next came Tortellini Nodo D’Amore, the Ristorante alla Borsa’s signature tortellini, served with a simple butter and sage sauce, and what can I say? Their renown is very well deserved.

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortelli With Monte Veronese Cheese And Potatoes

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortelli With Monte Veronese Cheese And Potatoes

The Tortellini were followed by Tortelli filled with Monte Veronese Cheese, potatoes, and a little rosemary, and they were again quite nice.

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortelli With Artichokes and Pecorino

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortelli With Artichokes and Pecorino

The Tortelli were followed by more Tortelli, this time with a pecorino and artichoke filling seasoned with marjoram, and while we were told that the recipe was still being worked on, it met with no complaints.

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortellini In Broth

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortellini In Broth

At this point the cooks decided to surprise us with a detour, as it were, and served up steaming bowls of tortellini in broth, which were quite refreshing and did help pave the way for:

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortelli With Squash Gonzaga Style

Ristorante alla Borsa Tortelli With Squash Gonzaga Style

Tortelli di Zucca alla Gonzaga, tortelli stuffed with squash, one of the most classic fillings of that part of the veneto, served with a tasty meat sauce that did a fine job of balancing the sweetness of the squash filling.

Ristorante alla Borsa Millefoglie and Gelato

Ristorante alla Borsa Millefoglie and Gelato

And to finish up? a selection of desserts; I opeted for Millefoglie with Gelato to start out.

Ristorante alla Borsa Semifreddo

Ristorante alla Borsa Semifreddo

And finished up with a semifreddo, which I enjoyed, but neglected to take notes on, though looking at it brings saffron to mind.

Bottom line: If you visit the southern part of Lake Garda, and like stuffed pasta (even remotely), do consider a meal at the Ristorante alla Borsa.

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Bruno Macrì’s Salsicce e Friarelli

Salsicce e Friarelli: Buon Appetito!

Salsicce e Friarelli: Buon Appetito!

This is a recipe from Bruno Macrì, who posted it on Luciano Pignataro’s Wine Blog . And since it is mouthwatering I linked to it from the Cosa Bolle in Pentola FB page, and received several requests for a translation. Luciano said “Go ahead,” and here we are.

Before we get into the recipe, however, a word on Friarelli. It’s a Neapolitan term that can refer to thin-shouldered long green mild peppers, but more commonly (including here) refers to cime di rapa, broccoli raab or rapini. Italian cime di rapa, I have read, are somewhat bitterer than the broccoli raab grown in the US, but if the sweeter American plants will be quite nice in this recipe too.

And now the recipe:

To serve 6:

For the Pasta:

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) finely ground soft what flour, ideally 00 grade
  • 3 yolks
  • A pinch of salt
  • Flour for flouring your work surface and the pasta sheet

For the Stuffing:

  • 60 grams (about 1/4 cup)  well drained fresh ricotta, ideally buffalo milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano
  • 1 tablespoon greated smoked scamorza cheese (a lightly smoked soft cheese)

To give color:

  • About 1/4 pound (100 g) cleaned broccoli raab
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

The Sauce:

  • 3 fresh mild Italian pork sausages
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano

Clean and wash the broccoli raab, and blanch them in lightly salted boiling water for one minute. Remove them to the bowl of a blender with a slotted spoon and add to them a half a ladle of the blanching water. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt, and belnd until you have a brilliant green liquid. Refrigerate it until it comes time to use it.

Sift the flour onto you work surface with a pinch of salt. Scoop a well into the flour and fill it with the yolks and all but a couple of tablespoons of the broccoli puree.

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Well

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Well

Start mixing the dough, working from the inside to the outside, until all is perfectly amalgamated. Should it prove necessary, add a little more water. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands until you have a smooth slightly elastic ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for about an hour.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Remove the casings from the sausages and crumble them into a non-stick pan with a half a glass of water. Cook them for about 5 minutes, then drain away the water and add a drizzle of olive oil, the unpeeled clove of garlic, and the sprig of rosemary. Cook covered over a gentle flame until the sausage is nicely browned and crunchy. Remove and discard the garlic and the rosemary, and set the sausage aside.

Prepare the stuffing by amalgamating the ricotta and the grated cheeses.

Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, roll the pasta out into rectangular sheets that are 1-2 mm (1/25th to 1/10th of an inch) thick; flour your work surface and the sheet often while your are working.

Dot the sheets of pasta at regular intervals with hazelnut-sized pieces of the cheese mixture.

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Stuffing

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Stuffing

Use a brush to moisten the edges of the sheets that will “kiss” when folded over, and fold the sheets over the stuffing, pressing down firmly around the blebs of stuffing to remove the air. Cut the ravioli free with a serrated pasta wheel.

Salsicce e Friarelli: Green Mountains

Salsicce e Friarelli: Green Mountains

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Ravioli

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Ravioli

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, salt it, add a drizzle of oil that will help keep the ravioli from sticking to each other, and boil them for three minutes. While they are cooking, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining broccoli puree in a skillet large enough to contain the ravioli.

Draw a ladle of pasta water and set it aside.

Drain the ravioli and transfer them to the skillet while they’re still dripping slightly. Cook, stirring gently, adding a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese and if need be a little of the water they cooked in.

Arrange the ravioli in deep dish bowls, spooning the green sauce over them, and complete the presentation with the crunchy sausages and a light dusting of grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano.

Enjoy!

The Original Italian Recipe