Despite what most people think, Cuisine is a regional affair in Italy and often a family matter.
Providing a quintessential “ Italian Christmas Dish” is therefore impossible, so I thought I’d go with the “piece de resistance” on my mom’s Christmas Day menu: home-made tortellini.
For us, making tortellini for our Christmas celebration is really a family effort: my mom is the Queen of filling and dough making; my father and my husband are the Kings of “closing” (giving the tortellini the traditional “priest’s hat” shape); my brother, sister-in-law and I are the little elfs who cut the dough stripes and place the filling on each square.
In our household, the tortellini are served at Christmas cooked in chicken broth (tortellini in brodo), and as I will be taking my first bite on December 25th, I’ll be thinking of you all and wishing you were there. Enjoy!
This recipe makes approximately 500 tortellini (consider 20 tortellini per person)
A dozen medium brown eggs
1,2 kg pasta flour (“00” – double zero)
If scaling the recipe down, consider 1 egg for 100 grams (3 oz.) of flour
½ lb beef roast – finely grounded
½ lb chicken breast – finely grounded
½ lb imported mortadella (preferably in 1 slice)
½ lb prosciutto di Parma (or San Daniele) (preferably in 1 slice)
1 whole medium brown egg
½ lb Parmesan cheese – rated
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbs butter
For best results, buy the beef roast and the chicken breast whole and ask your butcher to ground the meat for you twice.
Make a well with the flour. Break the eggs in the well, salt lightly, then start mixing the eggs with the flour working with your hands until you obtain a smooth ball of dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes under a clean, cotton kitchen towel.
Watch this step-by-step video from Accademia Barilla:
Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the ground meat (both beef and chicken), salt, and cook it for about 5 minutes or until there is still a little moisture left in the pan. Let the meat cool.
Dice the mortadella and the prosciutto di Parma. Put them both in a mixer and pulse until finely ground. Transfer them in a large mixing bowl.
Repeat the procedure with the cooked meat, once completely cooled down.
In your large mixing bowl, add the eggs, the grated Parmesan and the nutmeg to the mortadella, prosciutto and meat.
Lay out the dough (easiest with a past maker) and form 7-inches wide strips. With a dough cutter, cut the stripes into squares of approximately ¾’’ width.
Place a small amount of filling in the center of each square, fold the dough to form a triangle over the filling pressing down on the edges to ensure tortellini will not open during cooking. Then bring two of the corners together and press down the dough.
Want to see it done? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e61-h9wk62o&feature=related
Put each individual tortellino on a lightly floured tray or on a clean cotton kitchen towel. To freeze tortellini, put the entire tray in the freezer until the tortellini are fully frozen, then transfer them in a Ziploc bag.