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Italian fresh and stuffed Pasta

An Italian festivity doesn’t go by without us feasting on a bountiful plate of stuffed pasta. Tortellini, Ravioli, Agnolotti, Cappellacci and potato-filled Tortelli are quintessential dishes for special occasions.

Each region has its own filled pasta specialty with a specific shape, filling and sauce. From Marubin in Cremona, through Pansoti in Liguria and Tortellini from Bologna, to Culurgiones from Sardinia - our peninsula has plenty of different pasta shapes to offer.

Fresh Tortellini from Bologna - 250g

Fresh Tortellini from Bologna - 250g

These are the REAL Tortellini from Bologna. The Gratifico company makes Tortellini by hand according to the traditional recipe and selects ingredients from the Emilia-Romagna region. The paste is coarse - made with free-range eggs - and folds around a tasty filling made with PGI Bologna Mortadella cold cut, dry-cured ham and refined PDO mountain Parmigiano Reggiano which was aged for 30 months. They are then shaped in the traditional form called ‘Venus’ navel’. All ingredients are fresh when processed; a prime-quality product is obtained also thanks to the innovative production technique created in collaboration with the CIRI agrifood centre of the University of Bologna. Tortellini should be savoured in broth, with truffle or ‘just’ with a knob of butter… they’re so delicious that you don’t really need anything else!! ‘Gratifico - the art of pasta from Bologna’ has won an award as the best pasteurised golden Tortellino from Bologna in 2019 in the category ‘fresh pasta’.

Fresh Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – 500g

Fresh handmade ravioli with plenty of creamy filling of spinach and ricotta cheese from Casentino. This filling is simple but rich at the same time: genuine ingredients blend into a harmonious explosion of flavours. Once you try one, you won’t be able to stop. How many ravioli do you serve per person? Generally speaking, you should serve 5 to 6 ravioli per person, but we can all eat as many as 8 ravioli per serving. Then there are the gourmands that would never stop.Pancini’s dough is handmade, filled and properly rolled according to local traditions. The excellent quality of their products is the result of a strict selection of ingredients, such as stone-ground flour or fresh eggs from local farms. How do you store fresh ravioli, if you don’t eat them all in one go? Once you open the package, you can store them in the fridge for a couple of days. Otherwise, you can freeze them and keep them for 3-4 months. you can then cook them without needing to thaw them first. They can be paired with: Butter, sage and parmesan cheese Bolete mushrooms Chianina beef ragu
Fresh Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – 500g

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Interesting facts

Tortellini from Bologna

A must on the Christmas table - Tortellini are a major bone of contention between the cities of Bologna and Modena.

To avoid triggering off a fratricidal war, the city of Castelfranco Emilia was set as the place of origin of Tortellini. The legend narrates that Bacchus, Mars and Venus spent a night here.

The owner of the inn where they were staying was dumbfounded by the Goddess’ beauty and decided to spy on her through the peephole; he was so struck by her looks that he created a new pasta shape, taking inspiration from the shape of her navel. Some people question whether the beautiful guest was actually Venus herself or just a charming noblewoman. The story of peeping Tom aside, Tortellini were created to celebrate beauty.

In Bologna, Tortellini belong to an actual ‘religion’ and the highest authority on the subject is the “Dotta Confraternita del Tortellino” (the Tortellino association). It was founded in 1965 and it keeps the tradition and culture of the real Tortellini from Bologna alive. In December 1974, the association lodged with a notarial deed, which was then countersigned by the Prefect and Mayor, the real recipe of Tortellini and broth. 

We can see the ingredients for the filling in the original scroll: pork loin, dry-cured ham, Mortadella from Bologna, Parmigiano reggiano cheese, eggs and nutmeg. As far as broth is concerned, only beef and free-range chicken stocks are allowed.

Pasta should be thin, but coarse and the filling should be flavourful, but well-balanced. It may seem easy, but making good Tortellini is an actual art.

Potato Tortelli from Casentino

Let’s move on to Tuscany, to Casentino to be more precise. Stuffed pasta looks completely different here. First of all, the filling is different: the meat is replaced by potatoes. After all, Casentino is home to the Cetica red potato. This potato has a red skin, a white and compact flesh and a fine and delicate flavour; it is a Tuscan delight, as well as a Slow Food Presidium.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Lorena family fostered the cultivation of this potato type in the Casentino land: prospects for future epidemics and famines were scary and it was best to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Let’s talk about the filling of potato-filled Tortelli from Casentino. Besides potatoes, the filling also includes some tomato paste, a little bit of garlic, parsley and Parmigiano (or Pecorino cheese). Some people like to add lemon zest; other people also like to add Rigatino belly fat or Pancetta pork jowl. People from Casentino all add “saporita”, which is Italian for “flavourful”: it is a spice mix that is always paired with Tortelli.

Besides the filling, the shape is also very different from the shape of Tortellini. Potato Tortelli are big, square and the pasta is not twisted on itself, but it is just sealed with a fork.

They are dressed in layers and placed on a large serving dish. How should you dress them? Let your creativity run wild, but we suggest keeping it simple. A classic dressing is butter and truffle, but they also pair very well with mushrooms. You can also dress them with a rich ragout, such as wild boar ragout, for a dish that will make everyone happy.

Meatless Ravioli

There are endless variations of meatless Ravioli. The most famous filling is ricotta and spinach, but our country offers countless types of vegetarian filled pasta: pumpkin Tortelli with or without amaretto, Ravioli with nettle, Cappellacci with mushrooms, Capresi with a Caciotta-cheese filling… and the list goes on.

The region of Liguria is home to Raieu de Magru with chard and ricotta cheese, which are dressed with melted butter and sage. In the 12th century in Gavi (which was located in the region of Piedmont at the time and is now in Liguria), there apparently was an inn that was renowned for its pasta dishes. The owners were the Raviolo family; they came up with an egg pasta shell containing a filling made of borage and ricotta cheese. A new dish was just invented, which was named after its creators.

It is also said that the Raviolo family became extremely wealthy and bought a title of nobility. How did their coat of arms look like? It looked like a Raviolo, of course! In Liguria we can also find Pansoti bearing this name, because they are “panciuto”, pot-bellied. The filling is very traditional and must include Preboggion which is a mix of wild herbs like chard, borage, pimpernel, nettle and rapunzel.

Ricotta cheese is also replaced by Prescinseua, a traditional cheese from Liguria which is slightly sour and very soft. They should be dressed with a nut sauce and they are truly mouth-watering.

Countless pages of Italian cookbooks have been dedicated to filled pasta: traditional, regional pasta rich in history or recipe adjustments and new experimentations

An interesting idea would be slightly changing the egg pasta. We can change colour, by adding squid ink, spinach, purple cabbage or red beet. We can flavour the pasta with basil, parsley or saffron or we can add to the dough some chestnut flour to make an amazing autumn dish.