About this recipe:Ricotta and spinach make the most classic vegetarian pairing in Italian cooking. In the traditional "tortellini di magro", it's used also as filling for tortellini, the famous ring-shaped stuffed egg pasta from Bologna.
Rinse the spinach and cut off the tough stems. Place the leaves in a lidded pan with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until completely wilted. Drain and squeeze off all the water. Let cool in the colander.
In the meantime, in a large bowl soften the ricotta cheese with a fork until creamy.
Once cold, chop the spinach finely with a sharp knife or process in a blender. Squeeze away any remaining water and transfer to the ricotta bowl. Add Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg; mix well. It should not be runny, if this is the case, add more grated cheese.
Prepare the tortellini:
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Take one piece and cover the rest in cling film. Flatten the piece between your palms, then pass through the widest setting of you pasta machine. Sprinkle with flour, fold in half lengthways and pass it through the roll again. Repeat 3 to 4 times - always flouring, folding and passing through the widest setting - until the dough is smooth in texture (not sticky any more) and even in size.
Move the pasta machine to a middle setting and pass the dough; then, move to the next to the last setting and pass again the dough. Cut the obtained sheet in half, widthways.
Pass each half through the thinnest and last setting of the pasta machine: you'll obtain two long and very thin sheets. Gently transfer to a floured surface, trim away the edges and cut out 2 even rectangles.
With a ravioli wheel cutter, cut out 4cm squares.
Drop a teaspoon of ricotta and spinach filling in the middle of each square.
Brush the edges with some water and fold over diagonally into a triangle shape.
Press well to squeeze out all the air and form the characteristic tortellini "bump".
Stretch the 2 sides of the triangle and fold them together, wrapping them around your finger. Seal.
Gently fold back the top corner.
Transfer the tortellino on a floured plate or board. Proceed the same way with the remaining dough and filling.
Let the tortellini stand for about 30 minutes before cooking in plenty of salted water, about 6 to 7 minutes. Serve with your favourite sauce.
These tortellini are mild in flavor and very keen to be paired to any kind of sauce. Great with a simple butter and sage sauce or with your regular tomato sauce.
Tortellini are a very traditional Italian fresh pasta, shaped like small rings. Original of Bologna they are traditional filled with meat and served in a clear beef stock for Christmas or any special occasion. This version, with green spinach dough and a vegetarian filling is a very much appreciated alternative to the classic recipe.