This is a most elegant modern version of a traditional dish, and recognition is due to Pina Bellini, the exceptional Milanese cook who created it. The idea of substantially altering such a classic dish by giving it a refined asparagus filling is a winner; both for its originality and for its simplicity.
- For Filling:
- 6 ounces asparagus tips
- 3 ounces ricotta
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- For Pasta:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons dry white wine
- Pinch of salt
- For Sauce:
- 11 ounces asparagus tips
- 3 tablespoons butter
FOR FILLING: Cook the asparagus tips in boiling salted water until tender but still slightly crunchy; drain. Push the asparagus through a sieve and mix with the ricotta, Parmesan, cream and salt and pepper to taste.
FOR PASTA: Knead the flour with the eggs, white wine and salt until it is smooth and elastic.
FOR TORTELLINI: Roll the dough out into 2 thin sheets of equal size. Place the filling on the first sheet in 1/2 teaspoon amounts, 2 inches apart. Top with the second sheet and press down gently around each mound of filling. Use a 2-inch diameter cookie-cutter or glass to cut out the tortellini, then roll each one round the end of the index finger and press the ends together.
FOR SAUCE: Cook the asparagus tips in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 3 tips per person for decoration and cut the rest into rounds. Melt the butter in a pan over barely simmering water. Add the asparagus rounds and cook, leaving them only long enough to barely soften.
Cook the tortellini in plenty of boiling salted water for 5 to 7 minutes, until they rise to the surface, then drain. Serve, topped with the sauce. Garnish with the reserved asparagus tips.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
540 calories; 22g total fat; 163mg cholesterol; 948mg sodium; 62g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 22g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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