Mother Earth Living

Home-Grown Greens: Greens-Filled Tortelli with Sage Butter and Walnuts

Try this delicious herb-filled tortelli.
By Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille
April/May 1995


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Serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a first course
Any combination of greens is delicious with tortelli; experiment with whatever is in your garden. You may make the filling in advance and refrigerate it until you are ready to fill the pasta.

  • 1 pound dandelion greens, washed and stems removed
  • 1/2 pound beet greens, washed and stems removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 recipe Egg Pasta (below)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 16 to 20 sage leaves
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

1. Place the dandelion and beet greens with the water that clings to their leaves in a noncorrodible pot. Cover and cook over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the greens are wilted. Transfer the greens to a colander and drain well. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess liquid and chop finely.

2. Place the greens, garlic, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the egg and season the mixture well with salt and pepper. Blend well. Refrigerate the filling, covered, until ready to use. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

3. Prepare the Egg Pasta as directed below. Fold each length of pasta gently in half lengthwise to guide your placement of the filling, then unfold. Place heaping teaspoons of filling down the center of one half of the sheet, 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Moisten the pasta lightly with water around the filling and fold it lengthwise over the filling, pressing to release all air. With a crimper-cutter, cut the tortelli into rectangles 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide by 2 to 2 1/2 inches long, with the filling in the center. Place the tortelli on baking sheets so that they do not touch and cover with tea towels. (Continue rolling, filling, and cutting until the pasta and filling are used up.)

4. Melt the butter in a sauté pan. Stack any large sage leaves and cut them crosswise into shreds; leave very small sage leaves whole. When the butter sizzles, add the sage and cook until the butter just starts to turn golden brown. Remove the sauce from the heat, and add the walnuts and a little salt and pepper.

5. In the large pot of boiling water, cook the tortelli al dente, drain them, and transfer them to a warmed serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the tortelli, toss gently, and serve immediately.

Egg Pasta
2 cups unbleached flour
2 extra-large eggs

1. Heap the flour in a bowl and make a well in it. Break the eggs into the well and beat them together with a fork. Stir them into the flour from the bottom of the well until the dough in the center is smooth and shiny. With your hands, incorporate the flour from the outside into the center, kneading gently until the dough is uniform in consistency but still soft. It should be smooth and resilient. You may not be able to incorporate all the flour. Conversely, if the dough is sticky or very pliable, knead more flour into it. Divide the dough into two portions and cover it with plastic wrap or an overturned bowl. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before putting it through a pasta machine.

2. To mix the dough in a food processor, put the flour in the work bowl with the steel blade and pulse. Add the eggs and process about 30 seconds. The dough should just turn over itself at the top of the bowl. Stop the machine and pinch a bit of the dough together. If it coheres readily, turn it out onto a board and knead it. If not, add water, a teaspoonful at a time, and process. Be careful not to add too much water.

3. Processor dough is stiffer than hand-worked dough. Cover it and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling.

4. Adjust the rollers of the pasta machine to their widest setting. Roll one portion of the dough through the machine. Fold it and run it through the widest setting another time or two. Always put an open side into the machine when adding folded dough. If the dough feels wet or sticky, dust it lightly with flour before running it through the machine.

5. Advance the rollers and put the dough through the machine without folding. Continue rolling the dough once through each setting without folding. The ideal thickness for filled pastas is a little less than a millimeter; this is the last setting on some machines, the next to the last on others. The pasta will be difficult to handle if it is rolled too thin.

6. Cut the rolled pasta into 12-inch lengths, and lay them on a smooth, lightly floured surface so that they do not touch. (Reserve the odd-shaped pieces for another use.) Roll out the other portion of dough. The pasta is ready to fill.

Click here for the original article, Home-Grown Greens: Recipes Using Greens.


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