Lina's Tortelli

Lina's Tortelli
A simple spiced filling of acorn squash and and parmesan complement delicate, hand-formed pasta. Get the recipe for Lina's Tortelli »Laurie Smith

Wisconsin is not just known for its Colby and brick cheese anymore. Many European cheese makers moved here because "the milk is better and cheaper than back home." Lina Ferrari and her husband, a cheese maker, settled here from their native Italy. She still enjoys making Italian specialties, like this pasta, using the cheese her husband produces. Lina makes her pasta look like candy wrappers, but novices may have better luck with a classic ravioli shape.

Lina's Tortelli
An Italian immigrant in the heart of Wisconsin cheese country shares her pasta making secrets.
Yield: serves 4-6

For the Filling

  • 1 lb. acorn squash, quartered, seeds and pith discarded
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 14 cups freshly grated parmesan
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Pasta

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3-4 tbsp. butter
  • Freshly grated parmesan

Instructions

  1. For the filling, cook squash in a pot of boiling water over high heat until soft, 10 minutes. Drain, cool, then cut away and discard skin. Mash pulp in a large bowl. Stir in egg yolk and parmesan. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  2. For pasta, mix egg yolks and 3 tbsp. water in a bowl. Place flour in a large bowl and work in yolk mixture, moistening with up to 3 tbsp. water. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into 2 balls. Use a pasta machine to roll each ball into a thin sheet, then cut sheets into long 2 1⁄2"-wide strips. Cut strips on the diagonal into diamonds with 2 1⁄2" sides (make a diamond template or use a ruler), then cover with a clean dish towel. Cut remaining diamonds, covering as you go.
  4. To fill, place 1 diamond, sharp point nearest you, on work surface. Spoon about 1⁄2 tsp. filling in center, then fold in wide corners so that edges meet (diamond will look like an upside-down kite). Starting at the top, fold in outside edges, enclosing seam, and pinch to seal for a ruffled effect. Keep folding the entire length of pasta; pinch to secure at the bottom. Continue filling remaining diamonds.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add tortelli in batches, and cook until they float, about 3 minutes. Drain, then serve topped with butter and parmesan.