Fresh tortelli – pasta squares stuffed with crab
A fresh and simple supper idea packed with flavour, tortelli are closely related to tortelloni. The largest shape in the family, sometimes they are flat square parcels, and sometimes they are round with a hole in the middle. Here they are stuffed with crab, mascarpone cheese and fresh herbs. The British crab season starts next week, so why not get things off to a flying start?
Serves 4 (3 tortelli each)
200g fresh egg pasta
4 small sprigs fresh dill, chopped, to garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
For the filling:
1 large crab, about 1.5kg, freshly boiled
75g mascarpone cheese
1 tsp brandy
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
For the sauce:
60g unsalted butter
1g saffron strands or 2 sachets powdered saffron
1 Extract all the meat, white and brown, from the crab, making sure there are no bits of shell left. Mix this with the mascarpone, brandy, dill and some salt and pepper to taste. Keep to one side.
2 Roll out the pasta dough to 1mm thick, preferably by machine, into 1 or 2 long strips. Place 1 tsp of the filling at intervals in the centre of each strip, wet the edges, and fold over. Press to seal, then cut into 7cm squares with a serrated cutter.
3 Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes or until al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan until foaming, then add the saffron. Divide the tortelli between warmed plates. Pour some of the saffron butter over the top, and decorate with a sprig of dill. Serve hot.
TOASTING SAFFRON Put the saffron strands in the bowl of a kitchen spoon and toast over a gas flame, the flame under the bowl. This dries the saffron, which is then easy to grind to a powder.
*Antonio Carluccio’s new book Pasta is out now (Quadrille, £20). Photograph by Laura Edwards
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