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HOMEMADE TORTELLINI Italian traditional recipe and history
HOMEMADE TORTELLINI Italian traditional recipe and history
Prep Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs

Homemade tortellini is one of the most important recipes of my hometown, Bologna! Along with Bolognese ragù and Lasagne, this recipe is an authentic icon of the Emilian culinary tradition. Here I'm telling you the history, the legend, and the traditional way to make tortellini. Not really easy to prepare, but a masterpiece of the Italian culture!

Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8
Author: Filippo Trapella - philosokitchen.com
  • 2 cups all porpuse flour (260 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3.5 oz pork loin (100 g)
  • 3.5 oz mortadella (100 g)
  • 5.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (150 g)
  • 3.5 oz prosciutto (100 g)
  • 1 sprig rosemary (optional: my family variation)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional: my family variation)
  1. PREPARE THE FILLING (WE CALL IT “PASTINO”)Pour the butter into a pan along with 1 sprig of rosemary and 1 clove of garlic. Melt the butter over medium heat and sear the pork loin a couple of minutes per side.

    Now, raise the flame and baste with 4 tbsp of white wine. Finally, reduce the flame a little bit and slow cook the meat until well done. Sift and save the sauce discarding the garlic and rosemary.

    At this point, reduce the prosciutto and mortadella into pieces. Reduce it into pieces as well, then grind along with the prosciutto and the mortadella. You want the mixture finely minced; if necessary, grind the meat twice.

    Eventually, add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and 1 egg, pork loin sauce, and a pinch of nutmeg. Knead the “pastino” until consistent, then pour in a covered bowl. Store in the fridge at least 5 hours up to 24 hours.

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    Pour 255 g (2 cups) of all-purpose flour on a large board, best if wooden. Shape a “volcano” with the flour, then crack 3 eggs and pour them into the hole created in the middle of the flour.

    Now, beat the eggs lightly with a fork and incorporate the flour a little at time. Don’t break the edge of the volcano before the eggs mixture become dense enough.

    Knead the dough until obtaining a consistent mass. If the mixture results too moist, add a bit more of flour.

    Continue to knead the dough at least 10 minutes with your hands or with a dough maker until obtaining a smooth and elastic ball, then wrap in plastic and place into a ceramic bowl. Store in the fridge at least 30 minutes before rolling.

    Dust the board and the rolling pin with a bit of flour, then place the dough. Beat lightly the dough, then roll into a very thin pasta layer. If you prefer, use a pasta maker instead of the rolling pin.
    Cut the sheets of dough into squares 11/4 inches by 11/4 inches. Place 1 pea of filling in the middle of each square, then fold the square into a triangle. Finally, roll up the triangle and join the angles creating the typical shape of the tortellini.

    You want to work quickly otherwise the layer of pasta dries too much. To avoid this, roll small sheets of dough a little at time and spray a bit of water over the pasta every few minutes.

    To preserve homemade tortellini a few weeks, follow this method. Once prepared, poach tortellini into boiling water just 8 to 10 seconds, a dozen at time; then raise and let them dry a few minutes over clean kitchen towels (this process is named sbianchitura).

    After that, place tortellini over a tray lined with parchment paper, so that they can’t touch themselves.

    Finally, place the tray into the freezer a few hours. Once frozen, is possible store tortellini in bags to save space in the freezer.

    Cook tortellini into boiling capon or beef and poultry stock. If frozen, do not unfreeze. The tortellini are ready when they raise to the surface. Serve very hot directly into the stock or raise and toss with heavy cream sauce.