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Ricotta and Sage Tortelli

  • 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Medium
  • First Courses
Light and appetizing, this recipe for ricotta tortelli calls for a creamy sauce that really brings out the flavor of the pasta.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 1 ¾ oz parsley, chopped
  • 1 ¾ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 7 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • salt
  • 8 leaves of sage
  • 3 ½ oz heavy cream
  • ¾ oz butter
  • 1 ¾ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Prepare the tortelli filling by mixing the all the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Once well-mixed, let rest.

Then prepare the pasta dough by using your hands to mix together the flour with the eggs. Then add the white wine and salt. Continue working the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic. Then wrap the dough in a dishtowel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out a little less than half the dough, using a pasta machine or rolling pin, until the dough is 1/10 of an inch. Place the sheet of dough on a flat work surface, then arrange little hazelnut-size balls of filling on the sheet, about an inch away from one another.

Roll out the other half of the pasta dough and place the sheet on top of the balls of filling. Use your fingers to seal the pasta around the filling, trying to remove any air bubbles. Use a ridged pasta cutter to cut out your tortelli, placing them aside to rest for a minute or two.

In the meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Also begin preparing the sauce for your pasta. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, adding the sage and cream. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes.

Once the pasta water is boiling, add the tortelli and cook for 5 minutes.

Drain well and transfer the pasta to the saucepan.

Stir the pasta in the sauce over medium heat, adding grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve immediately.

Food History

The tortello (tortelli plural) is one of the many types of stuffed pasta typically found in Italy.

Given the simplicity of the shape of this pasta, it is likely that tortelli were one of the first types of stuffed pasta. Sources prove that they were first prepared in the late Middle Ages.

Their shape and their name probably derive from stuffed tarts (or torte in Italian), whith where much loved and widely-available in medieval Italy. The word torta was already being used in the 9th century, while the word tortellus appeared for the first time in 1112 in a French parchment document.

It wasn’t until the 13th century that the name for the pasta as we know it today, tortelli, appeared written in Italian, in the official sentence of a trial of a student in Bologna who had been accused of walking around the city without a lantern at night. This document reports that the young man tried to defend his actions stating that he had left his house in a hurry to go buy tortelli for himself and his friends. From this, we can conclude that tortelli were well known in Bologna at the time, even if we don’t know what they were filled with.

The first mention of tortelli prepared the way they are today, or rather with the same filling, appears in a book from the Emilia region published in the 14th century. Here the recipe for torteleti de enula call for the pasta to be stuffed with a cheese, egg, spices, pork and enula, a medicinal herb that was known to make you feel young and euphoric.

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