Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bologna: Tortelli-making lessons

Tortelloni, Tortelli di Zucca : the finished product
While in Bologna visiting my friends Massimo, Sofia and Erika, Sofia taught me to make Tortelli di Zucca (tortelli with a pumpkin filling). Here's how it went:

start with the flour
add eggs
mix the eggs into the flour
knead the dough
roll the dough out
roll out to desired thickness
prepare the filling: pumpkin with walnuts and nutmeg
Sofia made two types of filling, using a special kind of green pumpkin known as the Mantova pumpkin.  In fact, Tortelli di Zucca originates from Mantova, where the pumpkins come from.

Mantova pumpkins
One filling was made with a mostarda, which is  basically candied pears and apples and sometimes quince, preserved in a mustard flavored syrup, along with other ingredients. The other filling had walnuts and nutmeg as its base.

one way of doling out the filling
a simple way to mark the "pillows" of tortelli
cutting the individual tortelli
Everyone joins in to make the tortelloni, which requires some finesse: Erika, Anna, Massimo, Sofia.
Sofia showed me several ways to make the tortelli, and then how to shape the pasta into tortelloni. At this point, everyone joined in, including Massimo's cousin, Anna, who had come for the cena (dinner).

the shape of tortelloni
Once the pasta is made, it's boiled until done, and served with a light butter sauce with sage and parmigiano cheese (sugo).

Cooking the pasta and sugo
You've seen the finished product in the first picture on this post, but there was much more for dinner that day. Sofia is an artiste with food and pastry, and she had special supplies of food sent from her home town in Southern Italy for the meals she made during my stay, including this braid of buffalo milk mozzarella, that was used in several dishes:

Buffalo milk mozzarella from Campania
The buffalo that produce milk for the best mozzarella are not bison, but water buffalo, and come from the area near Salerno, in southern Italy. There is nothing like the taste of fresh buffalo milk mozzarella, and there's nothing in the U.S. that can compare. For our meal that evening, Sofia made aperitivi in a creative way, with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, olives and basil:

Earlier in the day, Sofia also made profiteroles, which are basically very small cream puffs. Sofia loves to cook and makes everything from scratch. The finished profiteroles were served for dessert. Needless to say, everything was DELICIOUS and it took several days to recover from this magnificent meal.

filling the profiteroles with cream
Three mounds of profiteroles, covered in chocolate, coffee and cream. Look closely and you'll also see handmade swans.
Grazie mille to Sofia for her expertise, creativity and patience! I'm eager to try making Tortelli di Zucca when I get home.

1 comment:

Massimo - Bologna said...

We're happy to know that you enjoyed the meal ! A presto.
Massimo and Sofia