190g Spinach, trimmed
1 Quantity Pasta Dough (see below), rolled out to second-last machine notch
150g Fresh Ricotta
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup (50g) grated aged Pecorino or Parmesan
1 Eschalot, finely sliced
2 Thyme sprigs, leaves only
1 Garlic clove, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
400g can chopped Tomatoes
2 tbsp Baby Capers, rinsed, drained
2 tbsp finely chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, plus extra to serve
1 Wash spinach under cold water. Place spinach, with water clinging to leaves, in a saucepan on medium heat. Cover and cook for 1-2 mins, until wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze excess water from spinach, then finely chop.
2 Using a 10cm cutter, cut 20 rounds from pasta sheets. Cover with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out.
3 Mix together spinach, ricotta and lemon rind and juice. Season to taste. Place 3 tsp of ricotta mixture in centre of each pasta round. Brush edge of half of one pastry round with egg, fold over to enclose filling and press edges together to seal. Bring points of tortellini together, turning tortellini in on itself. Brush points with a little egg, then stick together. Repeat with remaining pasta rounds and ricotta mixture.
4 To make tomato sauce, place eschalot, thyme, garlic and 1 tbsp of oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Cook for 2 mins, until eschalot begins to soften. Add tomato paste and chopped tomato and simmer for 6-8 mins, until sauce begins to thicken. Add capers, remaining oil and parsley. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
5 Cook tortellini in a large saucepan of salted boiling water on medium-high heat for 3-4 mins, until just tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove from water and drain well.
6 Divide sauce between four serving bowls and top with tortellini. Drizzle with a little extra oil and scatter over grated pecorino and extra parsley. Serve.
• These tortellini can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Dust them with fine semolina or polenta to prevent the bases softening and sticking, place on a floured baking tray and refrigerate until needed.
• Forget the old wives’ tale that says when cooking pasta you should add a dash of olive oil to the boiling water to stop it sticking together. Instead, simply use plenty of salted boiling water, cook until al dente, then drain and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil when serving.
PREP 20mins plus resting
1 1/3 cups (200g) Italian “00” plain flour
Pinch of fine Sea Salt
2 x 59g Eggs
1 tsp extra virgin Olive Oil
1 Place flour and salt in a food processor. Turn on motor and add eggs one at a time and process until combined. Add oil and process until dough is crumbly and not quite coming together.
2 Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly knead for 2 mins, until firm and elastic. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 30 mins.
3 Set rollers of a pasta machine at widest opening. Divide dough in half. Using your hand, flatten one piece of dough then roll it through machine. Fold it into three or four, like folding a letter for an envelope. Give it a quarter-turn and roll it through machine again. Repeat three times until smooth and elastic, with a satin glow. Repeat with remaining dough.
4 Reduce opening of machine by one notch and roll pasta sheets through one at a time. Repeat, reducing opening of machine by one notch each time, until you reach second last notch. Lay pasta sheets on clean tea towels. Set cutter on machine to 3mm wide and roll pasta through to make linguine, or cut to 6mm for tagliatelle, 8mm for fettuccine or 2cm for pappardelle.
• You can use ordinary plain flour to make pasta but for professional results, it’s best to use Italian “00” (double zero) plain flour. In Italy, flour is graded according to how finely it is milled, and “00” is the most finely ground. Only the bright white centre of the wheat grain is used to make “00” flour, so it’s the finest and whitest available. “00” plain flour is sold in many large supermarkets, as well as gourmet food shops and delis.
• A pasta machine is essential, unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of time rolling the dough by hand. Decreasing the thickness as you pass and fold the pasta through the machine ensures an even texture – it’s called “laminating”, and it makes the dough easier to work with when making hand-shaped pasta, such as tortellini.