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Dried Stuffed Pasta

By Edited Aug 28, 2016 0 0
Dried Stuffed Pasta

The most common dried stuffed pasta shapes are tortellini (little pies), a specialty of Bologna said to be modeled on the shape of Venus's navel. They are made from rounds or circles, of pasta, so they look like little plump rings, another name for them is anolini. Some Italian specialty stores also sell dried cappelletti (little hats), which resemble tortellini but are made from squares of pasta and have little peaks. Cappelletti are more likely to be sold fresh than dried. The same goes for ravioli and agnolotti, although you will find them frozen at most supermarkets. Tortellini are popular dried because they are traditionally used in brodo-simmered in a clear beef or chicken stock until they swell and plump up to make a satisfying soup. Most Italian cooks keep a package or two of tortellini in the pantry for just this purpose, and Tortellini in Brodo is often served for an evening meal when the main meal of the day has been at lunchtime. You can also be sure that Tortellini in Brodo will be served as a pick-me-up if ever a member of the family is unwell. They are also traditionally served on NewYear's Eve in Bologna, perhaps as an antidote to the excesses of Christmas.

Dried tortellini are generally available with a choice of fillings—with meat (alla carne) or cheese (ai formaggi). The pasta is made with egg and may be plain and yellow in color, green if flavored with spinach, or red if flavored with tomato. All types of tortellini need to be cooked for at least 15 minutes to allow time for the pasta to swell and the ingredients in the filling to plump up and develop their flavor. Meat fillings are a mixture of pork sausage and beef with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and spices. Cheese fillings usually consist of a minimum of 35 percent cheese mixed with bread crumbs and spices.

Dried tortellini are a useful pantry item as they will keep for up to 12 months (but always check the use-by date on the package). For a soup, only a handful or two of the filled shapes are needed and the package can be resealed. Tortellini are also good boiled, then drained and tossed in melted butter and herbs or a cream, tomato or meat sauce, and served with grated Parmesan. Children like their shape, and they provide a good way of persuading them to eat meat and cheese. A 9-ounce package will serve four people.

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