Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Tortellini
Welcome to another monthly installment of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally! (For those who missed out on our participation in previous months, don't miss our Mesquite Scones from May and our Almond Choux Florentines from June...)
This month's theme is pasta. In principle, it's super simple - the myriad shapes and sizes across a wide range of cuisine all start with two primary ingredients: flour and eggs. For this month's rally, the working ratio is 3:2, flour: egg.
We've certainly tackled from-scratch gluten-free pasta before, such as in our recipes for Butternut Squash Ravioli, Gnocchi, and Fettuccine, not to mention linguine (with clam sauce), (meat lover's and Mediterranean) lasagna, and more. But we've never approached pasta from the perspective of a ratio before. In fact, you might say our typical approach is the anti-ratio anti-recipe. Instead of relying on hard and fast quantities of ingredients, it's an intuitive method of preparation. You make a well of flour, add the eggs, and start mixing. When the pasta dough reaches the desired consistency, you're done and ready to form it into the chosen noodle. With this method, I know about how much flour I need for a given number of number of eggs, but I could never tell you that I used X grams or Y cups of flour.
Well, that's about to change. For this month's ratio rally, we've challenged ourselves by laying out several goals: 1) "formalize" a pasta recipe with ratios, 2) develop a new pasta recipe (made richer with mostly egg yolks, versus all whole eggs), and 3) tackle tortellini, a pasta we haven't made from scratch before.
Tortellini - not to mention its variants, tortelloni and cappelletti - is a stuffed Italian pasta. It might have a meat filling or a veggie filling, and depending on the region and the preparation, might be served with a sauce or in a broth. For today's recipe, we went with a seasoned meat filling that includes a blend of turkey, pork loin, and pancetta. I have to say, we're really quite delighted with the result!
As for the pasta, it turned out great, though we ended up deviating from the "standard" ratio, migrating much closer to a 1:1 flour: egg ratio. But no matter. Scroll down for some step-by-step pictures of the tortellini-making process, and find the recipe at the bottom. Also, don't forget to visit Jenn over at Jenn Cuisine. She's hosting this month's rally, and will have links to all the other fabulous bloggers rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty with pasta!
Makes 48 tortellini
For the filling:
120g lean ground turkey
120g pork loin, cut into small pieces
40g pancetta, diced
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, dash each
1 large egg (50g)
8g Parmesan cheese
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over high heat. Add the meats and brown to cook thoroughly.
2. Put the meat in a food processor and pulse to cool.
3. Add the spices, egg, and cheese, and blend to combine and form a paste. Set aside.
For the pasta
240g Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend (plus extra)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
160g egg yolks (about 10)
100g whole eggs (about 2)
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum and salt.
2. Add the eggs, and mix well to form a dough ball.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough ball with the heel of your hand. Occasionally sprinkle the dough with flour, working in additional flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic, and just until it is no longer tacky to the touch.
Now you're ready to make some tortellini!
Making the tortellini
1. Divide the dough in half (or into whatever size pieces you find workable for rolling out).
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a sheet as thin as you can make it without tearing.
3. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares.
4. Place a small dollop of meat filling into the center of each square.
5. Wet two adjacent edges with water, and fold the square over, creating a triangle with the filling inside. Press the edges firmly to seal.
5. Roll the base of the triangle up toward to the point of the triangle once.
6. Wrap the pasta around your pinky finger, with the point of the triangle on the outside.
7. Wet one end of the pasta, overlap the second end, and pinch to seal.
8. Boil in vigorously boiling water for 4 minutes.
9. Serve with your favorite sauce or broth.
This recipe is: gluten-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, refined-sugar-free
This recipe is easily made dairy-free by cooking the meat in olive oil or non-dairy butter and omitting the Parmesan cheese.
A couple of tips for working with from-scratch pasta:
1. When rolling out pasta dough, I like to use a rolling pin, a flour sifter, and an offset spatula. The use of the rolling pin is obvious. I like the flour sifter because it allows me to give a light even coat of flour to the work surface and to the pasta dough as I'm working, to prevent any sticking. The offset spatula is great for getting under the rolled pasta dough to "liberate" any stuck spots, and to pick up the pasta dough to flip it over.
2. A pizza cutter and a long straight edge works great for cutting the squares.
Finally, for today's post we photographed our tortellini with a very basic red sauce and just a touch of grated Parmesan. But we'd also recommend serving it with a garlic cream sauce, or simply olive oil and garlic.