Let’s be real. I don’t make fresh gluten free tortellini, or any sort of fresh pasta, every day. Who has time for such things?! But every time I do make … more
1. You can do it in stages. You don’t really want to wait too long after making the dough before you shape and cut it, but after that? You can stack it up, wrap it tightly and freeze it for months, even. Just defrost in the refrigerator before using it. You can even shape and fill it, freeze it in a single layer on a baking sheet and then pile it into a zip top freezer bag and stick it in the freezer. Then, boil it right from frozen. 2. It’s quite meditative. Particularly when you’re filling cheese tortellini, it’s a task you can lose yourself in quite easily, and in a very good way. Finally 3. The filling part is definitely something you can train small children fingers to do. Currently, I have no small children at home (all 3 at sleepaway camp for a few weeks), but if I did, you’d better believe all 30 fingers among them (3 children—sorry about the math) would be pressed into tortellini service.
Oh, and one more thing: You can’t do a tortellini search on the Interwebs without finding some tutorial or other about how to shape tortellini, but none of them (until now!) tells you what I believe to be the most important part of tortellini shaping. Here goes: after placing filling in the center of the fresh pasta round and folding the round in half, you have to pinch the shape right in the middle of the filled center before drawing the edges together. You have to! See the step by steps above, and read through the instructions below thoroughly, and then get your hands on some fresh gluten free pasta—and you’ll see just what I mean. Trust me. I’m a professional and stuff.
2 1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons (375 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
45 grams (about 5 tablespoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch**
2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) + 2 egg yolks at room temperature, beaten
1 tablespoon (14 g) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lukewarm water, plus more by the quarter-teaspoonful as necessary
**For information on where to find Expandex, please see the Resources page. For information on how to replace Expandex with Ultratex 3, readily available in most countries outside the United States, in the gluten free bread recipes in GFOAS Bakes Bread, scroll to #6 in Resources. I have not yet tested Ultratex 3 in this recipe, but I would recommend trying a mix of 405 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 15 grams Ultratex 3 in place of the blend above. Ultratex 3 is at least 3 times as strong as Expandex.
*For a fresh gluten free pasta recipe that doesn’t use Expandex, please see this post.
8 ounces low moisture ricotta cheese
10 leaves fresh basil, chopped fine
2 medium fresh zucchini
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Coarse salt, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Make the pasta dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum and Expandex, and whisk to combine well with a separate handheld whisk. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the eggs, olive oil and 1/4 cup warm water, and mix to combine. The dough should come together. If there are any crumbly bits, add more remaining warm water by the quarter-teaspoonful until the dough holds together well when squeezed with your hands. Knead together until the dough is smooth and pliable. If it feels stiff, add a few more drops of water and mix in until pliable. It should be, at most, slightly sticky but mostly just smooth.
Cut out the pasta. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it tightly and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. The dough will absorb more water and any remaining stickiness should dissipate. Unwrap the dough, divide it in half and return half of it to the plastic wrap and wrap tightly to prevent it from drying out. Place the remaining half of the dough on a very lightly floured surface, sprinkle very lightly with more flour and roll into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick.* Flip and shift the dough often to prevent it from sticking, sprinkling only very lightly with more flour as necessary to allow movement. Continue to roll out the dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Remove and gather the trimmings, and reroll them as possible. If you sprinkle the dough with too much flour during shaping, you won’t be able to reroll the trimmings. Repeat with the remaining dough.
*For instructions on how to roll out the dough using a hand-crank pasta machine, please see this post.
Fill and shape the pasta. Place the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Place about 1/4-teaspoon of filling in the center of each round of pasta. Moisten the edges of each round with water in your fingertips, and fold each round in half, sealing in the filling, and making sure to squeeze out any air that might get trapped. Gently pinch the filled pasta in the middle, right in the center of the filling, and bring together the edges, forcing the filled center to further pucker. Moisten and press the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and filling.
Cook the pasta and prepare for serving. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Place the filled and shaped tortellini pasta in the pot and stir to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Depending upon the size of your pot, you may have to cook the tortellini in batches to prevent crowding. Boil for about 2 minutes, or until the tortellini float in the pasta water and have become more yellow in color. Using a slotted spoon or spider strainer, remove the cooked tortellini from the pasta water, drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to coat. To serve over zucchini, trim the zucchini ends and cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler, and toss the zucchini ribbons with olive oil and coarse salt to taste. Also using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into ribbons, and toss with the zucchini. Place the cooked tortellini on top of the zucchini and serve immediately.
Adapted from the Fresh Pasta recipe (page 43) in the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring (Copyright © 2011) and the Flour Tortillas (page 203) in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread (Copyright © 2013).
P.S. Don’t have your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread yet? What are you waiting for?! :)