Chianti Tortelli

(Recipe courtesy of Allesio Bagnoli based on the family recipes of Veronica d’Entreves)

Makes: 6 to 8 Servings
Hands on time: 45 minutes
Total preparation time: 3 ½ hours

For the pasta dough:

3 ½ cups semolina flour
3 large eggs
2 to 2 ½ cups of Chianti Wine

For the filling:

8 ounces goat cheese
1 bunch of asparagus
½ stick butter
1 egg
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

2 sticks of butter
3 to 4 fresh sage leaves

For the garnish: shaved Gran Mugello, a typical cheese from the Mugello area in the Tuscan region, also known as Tuscan Parmigiano, or shaved Parmigiano- Reggiano.

Make the pasta dough:

Place about 3 ½ cups semolina flour on a cutting board or your counter top and make a small well in the center. Crack and add 3 large eggs, at room temperature, to the center of well. Use your hands to gently start to incorporate the flour and eggs together. Add about 2 cups of Chianti wine to the well. Keep leftover wine handy, as you may need to add a little more, depending on the consistency of your dough. Mix just until the dough becomes sticky.

NOTE: This recipe could also be made with a pasta maker.

Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface to knead by hand.

TIP: Dust your hands as needed to prevent dough from sticking to them.

Work the dough until it becomes elastic and pliable, about 5 to 8 minutes.

When you are finished, the dough should feel tight and strong but still soft to the touch, and there shouldn’t be any remaining flour sticking to your hands. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours to rest.

While the dough rests, make the filling:

Prepare the asparagus by cutting off and discarding the bottom woody part of the asparagus (about 2 to 3 inches). Cut off the tips and thinly slice the bottom stalks into ¼ inch thick pieces. Partially cook both the tips and the sliced stalks separately in the butter for 4 minutes over medium heat, so that they are still a bit crunchy. Combine the chopped asparagus with the goat cheese, egg and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside the cheese mixture and the asparagus tips.

TIP: A plastic bench scraper is a great tool to use to combine the ingredients for the filling.

Make the sauce:

Over medium heat, melt two sticks of butter. Add 3 to 4 fresh leaves of sage, and stir gently for a few minutes just so the leaves infuse the butter. Take off the heat, let cool. Save until ready to toss over the pasta.

Remove the pasta dough from the refrigerator and cut it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Form into a ball. Roll on the table with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick circle.

TIP: You know your dough is the right thickness when you can pick it up and still see the outline of your hand behind it. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2 inch by 2 inch squares

Fill each square with a tablespoon of the filling. Close the tortelli by bringing the opposite corners together over the filling, then loop the two other corners together.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a vigorous boil and add the pasta. Fresh pasta will cook in less than
 1 minute. When it is floating freely, remove with tongs or a pasta scoop. Use some hot pasta water as needed to help coat the pasta and enrich the sauce. Dress the pasta with butter and fresh sage sauce and a little black pepper and top each portion with some grated cheese.

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