Introduction: Tortelli Con La Coda

About: Polymath and idiot. Mostly idiot.

Since I started making my Lievito Madre I always wanted to prepare pasta with the sweet sourdough. In the north-central part of Italy filled pasta are called Tortelli, prepared with lievito madre, the Tortelli Con La Coda (with a tail) or also called Tortelli Piacentini. They are filled with a variety of local produce, ricotta, spinach, herbs, pumpkin, even with wild boar. The style is eyecatching and astonishing, but of course it takes skill to make them look this way. To have better pictures for their explanation I filled some with Anko, then I could put them down and make stepwise pictures of the folds.

Step 1: Ingredients:

What you need per serving for 2:

You will also need a filling, either take a pesto or mix 100grams spinach with 150grams ricotta. You can either make the Lievito Madre yourself which takes 25 days or buy a dried version.


Step 2: Preparing the Dough

This is actually easier than usually with pasta dough, because you already have a dough mixture and only add more to it. Keep in mind the Lievito Madre usually consists of flour and water in a ratio of 2 to 1. You probably use a discard of it after refreshing, keep the discard in a glass container in the fridge and when you want to prepare the pasta dough, add 100grams of flour and 2 beaten eggs. Now comes a little chemistry, the microorganisms in the Lievtio Madre are still alive, that is why you add a full teaspoon of salt. The microorganisms will die from plasmolysis, their enzymes are still active for some time. This will enrich the dough with a lot of flavour. Don't worry about the amount of salt, when you cook them in the water any excessive salt will diffuse out. Wrap the dough in cling film and store it in the fridge for 2 hours. If you think the dough is too wet then knead it on your silicon mat and gradually add more flour.

Step 3: Roll Out the Pasta

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out the pasta on your kneading mat into thin sheets using the pasta machine. Then take a tumbler with a wide opening and press it into the dough to gain circular dough sheets.

Step 4: Filling

Like I mentioned in the beginning, for the explanation I will use mashed Anko to achieve better pictures. Originally it is a mixture of herbs with fresh cheese or meat like in picture 2.

Step 5: Folding

Lay one of the circular sheet between your thumb and index finger of your non-dominant hand. Put in a spoon of your filling. Push in a little fold with the index finger of your dominant hand. Then with the middle finger and index finger you make a fold from the right into the mid like in picture 3. With your thumb and middle finger you make a fold from the left like in the fourth picture.

Step 6: Still Folding

Continue with the folding technique until you reached the end and it becomes too hard. Then just press the 2 sides together to form a tail (la coda).

Step 7: Storing

Store the pasta on a plate with flour or they will stick to it. Do not dry them in the sun or the filling will leak on the bottom.

Step 8: Cooking

You need a big cooking pot with boiling salted water. If you need more information to improve your cooking procedure, have a look at my Nerikomi Pasta instructable. The pasta is big and it might make a splash if you just throw them in. If you have a small kitchen sieve, put the pasta in there and then gracefully lay them into the water. The pasta should be done after 5 minutes when they all swim on the surface. Drain them in your sink and sauté them into a hot pan with butter. Add sage and then serve.

Step 9: Variations

For an extraordinary effect when you serve guests, try black dough with a red filling. Don't be worried the white dough for storage could make it look grey, it will mostly wash off during cooking.

Enjoy your pasta!

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