You are here

Castelvetro's Tortellini

Back to Recipe Testing

I trialled the recipe below alongside two from Scappi (II.180 & II.179), so they are what the comparison is to.

Castelvetro, Giacomo; Riley, Gillian (trans.): The Fruit, Herbs & Vegetables of Italy (Viking, London, 1989)

Castelvetro gives a recipe for crushed fava (broad) beans, which he says can be made into tortellini, then lightly fried in oil to serve. To make mine I used just under 400g of broad beans - some fresh, but mostly frozen. I boiled them with enough water to cover them, and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Instead of crushing them in a mortar, I blended them in the food processor, using only a couple of tablespoonsful of the cooking liquid, and adding in a decent teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and two tablespoons of oil. I added three small handfuls of sultanas to the mixture, so that there was a fairly even scattering of these throughout.

The mixture was quite stiff and pastelike. I possibly could have added more of the cooking water or extra oil to it to make it a bit smoother, but decided against this as I did not want it to become too liquidy as this would make it difficult to fill the tortellini.

As Castelvetro does not provide a dough recipe, I used a standard pasta mixture of one cup of flour mixed with one egg, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of rosewater in place of water. Rosewater as an ingredient in pasta dough is quite common in Scappi, so I felt quite comfortable about making this substitution.

I filled each tortellini with 5-10 grams of filling (1-2 teaspoons), then lightly fried them in olive oil. I have previously deep fried tortellini, and that works especially well.

My testers were in universal agreement that this was not their favourite tortellini, most saying that it was okay but a bit bland. Adding more salt to the cooking water may have helped, and then also perhaps adding more pepper to the mixture. However, given the simplicity of the recipe it is a bit hard to see how it could be made much better.