Tortellini are ring-shaped pasta, sometimes also described as “navel shaped”, hence their alternative name of “belly button” (ombelico). They are typically stuffed with a mix of meat or cheese. Originally from the Italian region of Emilia (in particular Bologna and Modena), they are usually served in some sort of sauce or broth, either beef, chicken, or both.
I am delighted to be teaming up with the guys at Manor Farm, the home of Irish Chicken. Carton Bros is the name of the company that produce Manor Farm chicken. It is one of the oldest family companies in the country and dates back to 1775 when it was trading in the Dublin Markets.
This recipe uses their gorgeous chicken mince. Back in my days of long hours working in kitchens, we used to blend up chicken to get the same result, so the chicken mince saves you so much time. It’s a very versatile healthy product so don’t be afraid to experiment with it. For more info on it click here
400g Manor Farm Chicken Mince
Half an onion diced
2 Cloves of garlic chopped
100g of wild mushrooms/ or shitake/ or chestnut diced
2/3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
chopped flat leaf parsely
season with sea salt and cracked black pepper
Fresh Pasta Recipe
3 large free-range eggs
300 g Tipo ’00’ flour
1 egg yolk for sealing the tortelini
(Alternatively you can use wonton pastry)
For the jus
half a glass of red wine
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1tbsp of honey
5tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
500ml beef stock
cornflour and water mix for thickening
100g wild mushrooms, sautéed in some oil and butter
1 head of bok choi, sautéed in some oil and butter
a salad or herb of choice, I used chervil and edible flours here.
For the pasta
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – with a bit of work and some love and attention they’ll all bind together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough!
You can also make your dough in a food processor if you’ve got one. Just throw everything in, whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to your work surface and bring the dough together into one lump, using your hands.
Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.
There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then all you need to do is wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges (this will give you crusty lumps through your pasta when you roll it out, and nobody likes crusty lumps!).
Roll out the pasta with a rolling pin if you don’t have a pasta machine. Make sure its thin enough as it will expand when boiled. And roll out as desired into long thin pieces until you can see your hand.
For the red wine jus
In a really hot saucepan add in the red wine and thyme. Allow it to reduce by 3/4. Now add the balsamic vinegar, honey and Worcestershire sauce and reduce by half. Now mix in stock. I. Bring to the boil and simmer until you are happy with the balance of flavours. Then thicken with the cornflour and keep warm until serving. If you want a nice shine, you can pass it through a sieve and add swirl in a few small cubes of butter before serving.
For the filling
For the filling in a hot pan sauté the onions and garlic in some oil until soft. Now add in the diced mushrooms and cook on a high heat until softened. Add the mince to the pan and cook until you have achieved a nice golden colour. This normally takes about 8-10mins. Add the mince mixture to a bowl and now season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and the mascarpone cheese.
Making the tortellini
Now you can make the tortellini, you can have them made 1-2 days in advanced. With a 7cm round cutter cut out nice rounds of pasta. Place half a teaspoon of mixture in the centre and brush around one half of the pasta with egg yolk. Fold the tortellini into a half moon over itself, making sure you press out any air. Now all you have to do is wrap the two lips over your little finger. Repeat until you have used the whole mixture. I normally serve 5 tortellini per portion. This mixture should give you enough to serve 6-8 people.
Now place the tortellini in a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 2-3 mins or until al dente. If making in advanced, once cooked refresh them in iced cold water instantly and lay on a tray ready to reheat when serving.
To serve, lay 5 tortellini on the plate, drizzle over the sauce and lay on the cooked wild mushrooms, bok choi and salad of choice. Enjoy!