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Christmas Eve Fish Tortelli

  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Medium
  • First Courses
These fish ravioli are the perfect way to celebrate Christmas Italian-style, with elegance and fun.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 10 oz sea bass fillet, skin off
  • 3 ½ oz crustless white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 4 tablespoons Riviera Ligure Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil DOP
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • minced parsley to taste
  • 4 scallops
  • 8 shrimp tails
  • chili pepper to taste

Preparation:

Soak the bread in the milk to soften. Squeeze the bread to remove excess milk, then place it in a food processor with the sea bass fillet, cream, egg white, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix until you have a soft, light puree. Once the filling is ready you can prepare the egg pasta dough  with 3 eggs and 10 oz of flour, or as an alternative, you can use 10 oz of fresh egg pasta dough already made.

Use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the pasta dough until 1/10th-inch thick. Using a knife or pasta cutter, cut the sheet into 3-inch squares. Then, using a teaspoon or pastry bag, place a hazelnut-sized ball of filling in the center of each pasta square. Brush the edges with water and fold, one by one, into triangular tortelli. Use your thumbs to seal the edges, making sure that there are no air bubbles inside.

Then, heat bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Peel and devein the shrimp. Remove the scallops from their shells, if necessary. Use only the white part of the scallop. Place a pan over medium heat. Add oil and, once hot, add the garlic and chopped chili pepper. After 30 seconds, add the scallops and shrimp. Once golden on both sides, add chopped parsley, salt and a couple tbsp of boiling water. Remove the garlic and then take the pan off the heat.

Once the sauce is ready, add salt to the boiling water and cook the tortelli. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the tortelli come to the top. Remove the pasta using a slotted spoon and transfer it to the pan with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce until well covered. Divide the tortelli evenly between individual plates. Add a little extra sauce to each. Also add, two shrimp tails, one scallop and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Food History

In certain parts of Italy, Christmas Eve dinner is the main event of the holiday season. Dinner takes place over the course of an entire evening and, after dessert, presents are opened before going to Christmas mass. The Italian tradition has it that on Christmas Eve you shouldn’t eat meat. Instead, fresh pasta is one of the most traditional dishes.

Tortelli are one of the many types of pasta you can find in Italy. They are easy to make and are likely one of the first stuffed pastas to have been invented. Tortelli were around by the late Middle Ages. The word tortelli, in fact, appeared written for the first time in a document from the 13th century.  Apparently, a student in Bologna was traveling around the city at night without a lantern, which was prohibited at the time. During his trial, the young man tries to explain that he left his house in a hurry to go out to buy tortelli to prepare for himself and his friends.

This document proves that tortelli were already well known in Bologna at the time, even if we don’t have records of what they were filled with. The first recipe for tortelli stuffed with a filling similar to what you would find today appeared almost a century later in a recipe for “torteleti de emula,” tortelli filled with cheese, spices, pork and enula, a medicinal herb that was believed to be hallucinogenic.

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