Eats, Shoots & Reads

Eats #27: Tortellini or Mini Pasties?

Ingredients: [Pasta] 300g tipo 00 flour, 3 large eggs. [Other] 2llb whole chicken, 1 leek, 2 carrots, 1/2 fennel bulb, 3 stick celery, 2 1/2 bay leaves, handful fresh thyme, 40g gorgonzola, handful of parmesan, juice of a lemon, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Note: I reduced the ingredients by half to serve 2 people.

Difficulty: 5/5
Rating: 3/5

Place the chicken in a saucepan and add the chopped carrot, celery, fennel and leek. Fill the saucepan with water until it covers the chicken and add the bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour until cooked.

While the chicken is cooking make a basic pasta dough by combining the eggs with the flour. Knead the dough until silky and smooth – wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge until needed.

When the chicken is cooked remove it from the broth and place on a serving dish to cool. Taste the broth and reduce if necessary to intensify the flavours – when you’re happy with the broth pass it through a sieve to remove the vegetables and herbs and place it back on the stove on a low heat.

When the chicken is cool remove the breast meat and cut into thin slices and add to the broth. Strip the leg and thigh meat and finely chop to make the tortellini filling.

Mix the chopped chicken with the gorgonzola, parmesan, parsley stalks and season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste.

You’re now ready to assemble the tortellini. Roll out the pasta into 4″ x 4″ squares and add a small spoonful of the filling. Use water to seal the pasta and fold the square diagonally to form a triangle and wrap the edges around to form a circle – repeat until all the filling has gone.

Cook the tortellini for 3-4 minutes in salted boiling water and careful drain. Bring the chicken broth back up to a boil and add the parsley and celery leaves. Finish cooking the tortellini in the broth and serve!

Review

Although I’m not a big lover of pasta my favourite types are filled such as tortellini and ravioli. So far I’ve been lucky enough to draw both and although the overall dish was delicious I’ve come to the conclusion that without a pasta machine it’s just too much hassle.

Making the tortellini was difficult and extremely time consuming. In total the recipe took nearly 3 hours and when you balance that against fresh, shop bought alternatives it’s easy to see why people opt for the supermarkets.

I think not having a pasta machine has once again been my downfall. I couldn’t get the pasta thin enough and some of my tortellini looked more like pasties than pasta.

On the plus side, the chicken broth was really fresh, full of flavour and would make an excellent chicken soup. However, it felt a little wasteful cooking a whole chicken and I wonder if chicken thighs/breast would work just as well.

The tortellini filling was a real surprise. I’ve never tasted gorgonzola and I’ve struggled to find it in the supermarkets. This time I was lucky and was surprised by it’s taste. It’s creamy, rich and has a lovely sharpness and tang. The gorgonzola mixed with the chicken, parsley and lemon was really tasty and an excellent filling for tortellini.

Overall a really tasty dish but the time and hassle don’t justify the end result. If I ever get my hands on a pasta machine I might contemplate making this dish again but for now I’ll look for easier recipes.

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