Silverbeet, Lemon & Ricotta Tortellini
Sunday is fridge clear out day, so I try to make the most of all the random ingredients left in there! Homemade pasta is one of those wonderfully delicious dishes that you can make out of a few simple ingredients (flour, eggs, oil) and whatever takes your fancy on the day, often with marvellously mouth-watering results! Spinach and ricotta is one of those classic Italian pairings, and although I didn’t have any spinach, silverbeet does more than suffice. It’s also a great way to use up those pesky wilted greens at the bottom of your fridge.
To turn this meal up a notch I also roasted some tomatoes, and browned some butter. The end result was silky, buttery, tortellini and roasty umami tomatoes. Read ahead for the recipe and please enjoy!
For the pasta dough:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of type 00 white flour, plus more for dusting
For the pasta filling:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of siverbeet, washed and roughly chopped
1 brown onion finely diced
1 garlic clove
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 cup (250grams) of ricotta
zest of 1 lemon, plus a tablespoon of juice
1 teaspoon of honey
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the pasta sauce and roasted tomatoes:
100 grams of butter, chopped
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
125 grams of Parmigiano-Reggiano (or good quality parmesan), finely grated
1 bunch of tomatoes, preferably on the vine
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
optional: fresh basil leaves for garnish
To make the pasta filling:
In a large saucepan or shallow dutch oven add oil, onion, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent. Add the silverbeet and cook for a further 5 minutes or until wilted. Set aside to cool.
In a blender add silverbeet mixture and juice of lemon. Give it a quick blend until a fine paste forms.
In a medium mixing bowl add silverbeet paste, ricotta, some more thyme, lemon zest, honey, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly then set aside until you're ready to fill you pasta.
To make the pasta dough:
In a mixing bowl add flour, salt, eggs and oil. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together. If your dough seems too crumbly, or its not holding together well, add the cold water.
Flour a chopping board and place dough on it. Knead the dough (for no more than 2 minutes) to form a ball. Flatten the dough so it is about 10 cms thick and then tightly wrap in cling wrap. Set this aside for at least an hour and a half so the dough relaxes.
Set up a pasta machine, and divide dough into 4 equal pieces. One at a time (wrap up rest of dough while you work on one piece) roll it out with a rolling pin until 4 cms thick. Next work the dough through the pasta machine on the various thickness settings, until you have a long piece of pasta that is paper thin.
Once the pasta is rolled out dust thoroughly with semolina or flour to prevent it from drying out. Using a large cookie cutter, cut circles about 7cms wide from the pasta sheet.
Prepare a glass or bowl of cool water beside your pasta workstation.
Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each pasta circle. Dip your finger in the glass of water and run it along the edge of the circle so that the pasta can stick to itself.
Fold the dough over itself to form a half moon shape, then pick up the two corners and press them together with your fingertips to seal the tortellini. Dust generously with flour while you work on shaping the others.
To make the sauce and assembly:
Heat the oven to 180°C fan forced (200°C or 392°F). On a roasting tray add tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and a swig of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until roasted to your liking.
In a shallow dutch oven or large saucepan on medium - high heat add butter, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter foams and then browns. Reduce temperature to low.
In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook pasta stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Take one tortellini out and test for doneness.
After approximately 5 minutes, remove pasta from the water and using a slotted spoon add it to the saucepan with the browned butter. Add 1 ladleful of the pasta water, and the parmesan, and gently stir (or toss) until the parmesan is melted and sauce is creamy, glossy and emulsified. Add the roasted tomatoes back to the saucepan.
Serve tortellini seasoned with more cracked pepper, basil leaves and parmesan. Please enjoy!
Notes: If the pasta sauce looks too tight, add some more pasta water. If it is too thin you can add some more cheese or continue stirring for another minute (it will continue thickening as it cooks).