Tortellini – Hearty and Delicious

The characteristic ring-like shape of tortellini gives them a similar appearance to that of a belly button. They are quick and easy to prepare and, thanks to their numerous filling options, are well suited to a wide selection of dishes. One of the more popular varieties is the Italian delicacy of tortellini with a meat filling in tomato sauce, or with a spinach filling in a cream and cheese sauce. Whether for smaller children or at a romantic candlelight dinner, tortellini are perfect for every occasion. 

Food Facts Food Facts

Tortellini

Nutritional group

carbohydrate

Calories

215 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

34g carbohydrate, 1.5g fibre, 4.5g fat, 8g protein per 100g

Season

available year-round; fillings depend on availability

Storage

refrigerate; preferably uncooked and vacuum packed
Shelf life 1-2 days

Tortellini – Origin and Characteristics

We owe many popular delicacies to Italian cuisine and often they have quite a curious history behind them. Tortellini are no exception; the pasta is said to have originated during a remarkable event in the 17th century. In a poem by the famous poet Alessandro Tassoni, the Roman goddess Venus was supposed to have sought shelter for a night in a guesthouse in Modena. The innkeeper caught a glimpse of the naked Venus through the keyhole and was so taken by her beauty that he then formed pasta in the shape of her navel, and so, tortellini was born.

A less imaginative account of the origin of tortellini tells of a housewife in Modena who simply formed the pasta in a ring shape so that the filling wouldn’t escape when it was cooked in bouillon. Tortellini quickly became a popular food for special events and continued to spread across the world. Even though most people don’t make and fill their own fresh tortellini, they are still a real culinary delight.

Tortelloni are larger in size than tortellini but have exactly the same shape. Their size makes them suited to more refined fillings, like truffle. Capalletti are the tiny version of tortellini and are usually filled with meat. All three varieties can be found in almost every supermarket. 

Tortellini – Combinations and Varieties

Tortellini, when filled with meat and served without any sauce, have 215 calories per 100 grams. They keep you feeling full for longer and can be a great lunch option when combined with a sauce and vegetables. Try out the pasta parcels in a tomato sauce with fresh broccoli or carrots, or any other vegetable for a balanced yet delicious meal. Tortellini are also a great option for vegetarians – one of the more common fillings for the pasta parcels is spinach or cheese.

For the most creative combinations, it’s best to prepare your own homemade tortellini. Simply mix together flour, eggs and salt, then knead the dough until the gluten relaxes and cover it for at least half an hour. Roll out the dough and, with a glass,

cut the sheet of pastry into circles. Place one teaspoon of your chosen mixture in the centre of each circle and gently push the edges of the dough together, making the shape of a semi-circle. Lastly, join the two corners of the semi-circle and firmly press them together. The pasta parcels then need to be boiled in salt water for just three minutes.

Tortellini make an excellent addition to casseroles or to a bouillon, and they are even great as a simple salad topping. Combined with a ham and cream sauce, the tortellini make for a hearty meal. They are also a good side dish for pork chops or a schnitzel. For a lighter option, try tortellini with spring vegetables or as a filling for stuffed peppers. There are countless ideas for tortellini dishes – have a look through our tortellini recipes and find your favourite. 

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