January 24, 2018

Tortellini vs Tortelloni, do you know the difference?



Someone at some point must have gotten the tortelloni and tortellini confused and started stuffing the tortellini with cheese - probably they thought it wouldn't make any difference.

Ha! that's because they don't know the Bolognese who take their food extremely seriously - as seriously as some people take their sports teams.

Tortellini with meat are a specialty of Bologna and they are served in a brodo (soup). The pasta stuffed with cheese are Tortelloni, and they are traditionally served in a sage and butter sauce so you can taste the amazing stuffing you went to the trouble of making.

The tortellini, with emphasis on the ini because they are tiny, are some serious work. In the tortellini class we make the stuffing according to the recipe deposited at Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce, we make the brodo and then we roll the dough so thin we can actually read a recipe through the dough…yes, that thin. Its a lot of work which is why I keep the tortellini from scratch lesson for advanced students or for a 2nd or 3rd lesson. In terms of how many you need to prepare per person- you should plan on preparing anywhere between 6-8 tortelloni per person while you will need around 20 tortellini per person. Hence, why the tortellini are a lesson by themselves.

Some time ago I wrote a post dedicated entirely to the tortellino (singular, but no one eats just one so think tortellini, the plural). You read all about it here: bolognese-stuffed-pasta-tortellino

Having said all that, there is a very logical reason why tortellini and tortelloni differ is size and it has to do with the flavor of the filling: the cheese filling is flavorful but delicate, you need more of it in every bite so you can actually taste it (otherwise you could put anything, cheap or low quality ingredients in there and you wouldn't know the difference). Hence the pasta shape sorpresine... The tortellini filling on the other hand is extremely flavorful and so you don't need a lot to actually taste it. and no, putting a bunch of the tortellini stuffing in a large pasta would not work, it would totally overwhelm your palate then nothing else you ate would seem tasteless (remember we take our food seriously).

Oh and one last thing, anyone who serves tortellini in anything but a meat broth would probably be ostracized in Bologna! Some youngsters prefer the tortellini in a cream sauce so you might find it served that way - but do not request it, just check if its on the menu.

Anyway, just some information about Tortellini

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