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

Try this delicious herb-filled tortelli.

| April/May 1995

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.

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