Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dutch Oven Tortellini with Alfredo Sauce

I tried making this a long time ago, but I didn't blog about it because the sauce was absolutely horrible. It "broke". That means that the cheese ended up in a coagulated mass, and runny milk. Yuk. It was one of my worst tanks.

So, today, I thought I'd try it again, now that I've learned how to do sauces better.

I'll have to warn you, the way I did this, it was a very complex process. It's not for beginners. I started in the morning, and it all ended at about 5:00. Of course, there was a lot of down time in the middle. Still, there are a lot of steps.

The Filling

8" Dutch Oven

12-15 coals below

  • 1-2 Cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • A handful of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small tub of Ricotta Cheese
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon

I started early in the day by putting some coals under my 8" dutch oven, with all of the ingredients in the first set. I put the lid on, and let it boil down until the spinach greens were soft.

Actually, I did that using the coals on top of my 12" as it was cooking the cinnamon buns that I'll be writing about soon.

Once that was boiled down and all the greens were soft, I took them out and put them in a collander to drain, and cool. Once they were cool, I put them in a bowl and added all the other ingredients, and stirred it all up. I put that in the fridge, covered by plastic wrap.

The Tortellini

  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 eggs
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • a pinch of salt

The tortellini I made using the method I used for the pasta fresca a long time ago. It was a little different this time, though. I didn't use any water, and I kneaded it a long time. Probably about 12 minutes. I was surprised that, once I was actually making the tortellini, it was much easier to work with the dough. It was more flexible. Are you noticing a trend, here?

I used a small kids cup (with a diameter of about 2") to cut the discs for the tortellinis. This made them pretty big, but that's OK. They were easier to work that way.

One thing I'd recommend, is that once you've used the cup to cut the discs, gather up the extra pasta and ball it up. Put the discs aside, and roll out the extra. Cut more discs, and carry on that way until all the dough is used up or you have enough discs. Plan on about 10 tortellinis per serving.

Then I held a disc in my fingers, and put about a half teaspoon of filling into it. I wet the edge of one side with my finger (dipped in water), and folded it in half. I closed it up, pinching as I went. I had seen a TV show about making potstickers, and it said to press the edges together, starting where the filling is, so there's no air pockets.

Once it's all sealed in a half-circle pouch, I bent each corner inward, and made the little "hat" that's tortellini. Once I got going, it went pretty fast. I just set them aside and let them dry a little bit.

The Sauce

8" Dutch Oven

12-15 coals below

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons roux
  • A big pinch of grated romano cheese, to taste
  • A big pinch of grated mozarella cheese, to taste
  • A big shake of grated parmesan cheese, to taste
  • salt
  • Pepper

I started by sauteeing the first set of ingredients until they were quite browned. This actually took quite a long time. Then I pulled them out of the oven, and poured in the cream and the milk. I put the lid on and let it start boiling.

Then, as my Brother-in-Law had shown me , I started adding in the roux I had left over (stored in the fridge) from last week. I stirred it in with a whisk, and just kept adding it until it was thick enough. I'm estimating the amount in the ingredients above.

Once it was thick, I added the onions and the mushrooms back in, and added in the remaining ingredients. I kept whisking, and stirring, just to keep it going. It was great, and it didn't "break", just like last week.

In the meantime, I had another 12" dutch oven with about 18-20 coals underneath cooking some links of mild italian sausage.

I also had my 10" dutch oven, with 15-18 coals under it. That one was boiling water for the tortellini. Once it was boiling, I put in the tortellini and let it come back to a boil. Once it was boiling, it cooked pretty quick, in about 10 minutes.

After making all these elements, it was fun to finally plate it up and serve it. I dished up some tortellinis, poured on some sauce. Then I sliced up a sausage link, and put it on the side. Finally, I scraped some mizithra cheese on top. Yum!

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