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First courses

Tortelli alla maremmana

Cucine dal Mondo 5 by Cucine dal Mondo 5
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Difficulty
Medium
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Serves
6 people

Tortelli alla maremmana (Maremma-style tortelli) is a typical first course loved in the province of Grosseto and all over the Maremma: each place differentiates by shape and size. The name “tortelli” is misleading given that they are actually “ravioli” in varying sizes with a low filling to pasta ratio. In local jargon, it’s said that they must have a “wide footpath”.

The recipe we recommend, written by Mariavittoria Sennati, have sides measuring about 7-8cm, but it is possible to make them even bigger, up to 14x7 square centimetres. In some parts of the Maremma (Sovana and the neighbouring towns) they use nettles in the filling, instead of chard and spinach; in other places (Arcidosso and Santa Fiora) mixed herbs from the fields are stirred into the sheep’s cheese.

Ingredients for 6 people
  • 500g white 0 flour
  • 4 eggs
  • salt
Ingredients for the filling
  • 400g spinach and Swiss chard, in whatever proportions you prefer
  • 300g dry sheep’s ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method
Tortelli maremmani
Tortelli maremmani - Credit: Cucinedalmondo5

Prepare the pasta sheets in the usual way, making a well in the flour on the pastry board and pouring the beaten eggs and salt into the centre. Using a fork, add the flour and when the eggs and flour are completely combined, work with your hands for a while, pulling and rolling the dough, which will turn out with a smooth, fairly stiff finish. Wrap the dough in cling film or in a slightly damp tea towel and leave it to rest so that the gluten can be released and it is easier to roll out.

For the filling, wash the earthiest parts of the vegetables in lots of water and then boil them in the water that is left over from the last draining. Drain well and, once cooled, chop them on a chopping board and knead them into a bowl with the eggs, ricotta, parmesan, salt and spices.

Cut the thin sheet into two uniform strips. Lay a teaspoon-sized filling (you can use a pastry bag to help) down on one, place each teaspoonful around 8cm apart, and cover with the other sheet. With your fingers, press the dough around the filling so as to seal it and stop air bubbles forming, which could break the tortelli during cooking. Cut with a toothed wheel and arrange the tortelli, little by little as they are formed, on a tray sprinkled with semolina, grains or cornflour.

Cook them in lots of salted water for at least 10 minutes then drain them with a skimmer and layer them onto a serving dish, with a sauce of your choice (below is a recipe for Tuscan meat sauce). Before serving, leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

Tuscan meat sauce

Tuscan meat sauce is different from other ragu because it uses pieces of meat rather than ground meat. To prepare it the herbs are first browned by themselves then the meat and tomatoes are added. There is no need to add water or broth. The only fat used is oil.

Ingredients for 6 people
  • 200g beef meat
  • 100g pork meat
  • 400g peeled tomatoes
  • Celery, carrot and onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Method
Tortelli with meat sauce
Tortelli with meat sauce

Make a fine mince and brown in a pan with 6 spoons of oil. Lower the flame to as minimum and cook for around half an hour, taking care not to burn the mince. Add the pork chop and brown it well, then take it out and chop it very finely on a chopping board.

Return it to the pan and add the tomato puree. Salt to taste.

Cover with a lid and continue to cook on the lowest heat for around an hour.

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Food and Wine