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Ricotta and Nettle-Filled Tortellini with Speck and Asparagus

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces fresh nettles
  • 2 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Fresh Pasta Dough Click here for recipe
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 12 slices speck
  • 16 asparagus spears, cut into 2½-inch pieces, reserving tips


Procedures:

Tortellini are ring-shaped pasta, also described as “navel-shaped”, usually stuffed with a mixture of meat or cheese. Originally from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, they are typically served in a meat or vegetable broth but are also delicious in a thick broth or with olive oil.

To make tortellini filling: In a pot of boiling water, cook the nettles with salt until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the nettles from the boiling water and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and roughly chop. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mozzarella, ricotta, basil, nutmeg, nettles, salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To prepare tortellini: Roll out pasta dough to the desired thickness, cut pasta rounds, fill and shape tortellini. Dust the tops of the tortellini with flour and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel.

To cook tortellini: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the tortellini and cook until al dente and the filling is heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pasta from the water and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly toss to prevent pasta sticking together.

To finish recipe: Place a large, nonstick skillet on the stove over a medium heat; add the olive oil until shimmering. Add the speck and cook until just crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the cooked speck to a paper-towel lined plate.

Using the same skillet and drippings, add the asparagus and sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté another minute. Add the cooked tortellini and sauté until the pasta and asparagus are well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: Distribute the tortellini between 4 warmed serving bowls, top with crispy speck and serve immediately.

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