Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tortellini From Scratch

From Foodsies!

I love home made tortellini. I love forming them, and I love eating them. It might take a little time, but it's easy and (to me) fun. Plus, they freeze so easily that you could spend an afternoon or evening making a ton of them, and then be set. It hadn't occurred to me before, but the same can be done with dumplings/momo. I'm totally on a mission to provide my own 2am junk food ;)

Once I had cooked the tortellini I served them with a mix of artichokes, olives, and grape tomatoes. I think that was a bit of a mistake, because while that mixture was good, it overwhelmed the flavor of the tortellini themselves. When I make it for my parents (or anytime in the future) i'll probably stick with a basic white wine sauce (like a vegan Beurre Blanc) instead. I bet a good oily pesto would be tasty as well.

For the filling I just made a nice, fairly mild tofu filling. Some diced mushrooms or spinach would have been nice in there as well.

Now that i'm making myself hungry, here's the recipe and process (the tortellini-forming is the best part!)...

Hand Made Vegan Tortellini


Tortellini Dough

3 Cups Flour*
2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Cup Water

Tofu Filling

1 Package Firm Tofu, drained and pressed
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
1 TBSP Olive Oil
3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
2 TBSP Yellow or White Miso**
2 tsp Sage
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper (or to taste)

* You can use All Purpose Flour or an equal mix of All Purpose and Whole Wheat. I used half All Purpose and half White Whole Wheat.

** If you don't have Miso, you can use a teaspoon of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or skip it altogether. The miso just gives it a slightly fermented flavor like cheese has.


Drain and press the tofu by placing the tofu on a plate, with another plate face down on top of the tofu. Put a heavy book or two on top of the upper plate so that it's pressing down on the tofu.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the Flour, Nutritional Yeast, and Salt. Add Olive Oil and then slowly add water until you have a dough that is not sticky but is also not too dry and stiff. Knead 3-5 minutes. Roll in a tsp of oil in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth.

Let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling:

Remove the tofu from between the plates. The bottom plate should have accumulated a few spoonfuls of water. Dump these off. Carefully press the tofu between your hands over the sink to squeeze out a touch more water if possible.

Place the tofu in a medium mixing bowl and mash up with your hands and/or a fork until it has a crumbly ricotta-like texture (if it's too watery the texture will be more mushy than crumbly but frankly that is just fine also).

Add all of the other filling ingredients to the tofu and mix well with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings or ingredients accordingly.

You will probably still have some time left before the dough is ready. I would not suggest starting an attention-needing sauce at this time, because forming the tortellini once the dough is ready is fairly attention-needing itself. But hey, you only live once.

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, flour a large cutting board or other surface. Tear off about 1/3 or 1/4 of the dough and roll out on the floured board until it is very thin, but not see-through, and you don't want it so thin that it rips. Hopefully you can get an idea of the thinness/thickness from my pictures.

From Foodsies!

Once rolled out, you can either cut out squares (about 2x2 inches) which is slow and dumb and is what I did, or you can use a cookie cutter to cut out circles which you will be folding over the same way as the squares (smart, and what I will do next time).

Once you have some cut out, place a small teaspoon of filling in the middle and fold one "corner" over to the other, to form a triangle or half-moon. Smoosh the edges down.

Fold the center "corner" up and then fold the ends around. Pinch them together to seal them to each other.

I know it doesn't make much sense. This link might help, since it has step by step pictures. It's the same as my directions, only they fold over the center corner at the end, and I do it earlier. Doesn't matter which way.

Soon you will have an army of tortellini!

From Foodsies!

At this point you can either freeze them or cook them.

To cook them, you can either boil some water and then add the tortellinis to boil for 3-5 minutes, or if you are worried they are too delicate for boiling, you can steam them in a steamer for 10 minutes or so.

I went with the steaming to be on the safe side, but they'll be more tender if you boil them.

To freeze them, coat a cookie sheet or other flat tray/dish with flour and add a layer of tortellini. Place in the freezer for 1 hour - overnight, until frozen solid. Then you can throw them in a freezer bag or tupperware and put them back in the freezer.

To cook after they're frozen, you can boil them straight from the freezer (no defrosting needed). Just boil for 6-7 minutes instead of 3-5 like you would if they were fresh.

I can't wait til I have some frozen batches that I can just cook at a moment's notice. Can't beat home-made food that can be boiled for a few minutes and then served just like the store-bought kind :)

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