There are times when I make elaborate plans for special dinners. I get out the little notebook that I keep in the drawer of our coffee table and begin scribbling down menu ideas. There are lists of appetizers, entrees, desserts. There are names of cookbooks with important page numbers, lists for the farmers’ market and grocery stores. Some times I record my ideas for dishes, linens and serving pieces. I suppose this comes from my years as a caterer when the success of an evening would hinge on my copious notes. If anyone finds this book after I’m no longer around, they’ll think that there was nothing going on in my life besides food (there’s another book with all the Italy info)!
Although tonight’s dinner would qualify as a “special dinner”, there was virtually no planning involved. I knew all along that we would be dining in for Valentine’s Day, but for some reason I didn’t spend a lot of time on the menu. I woke up this morning and thought “I’m going make homemade tortelloni”. I’m a huge ravioli fan (comes from growing up eating my grandmother’s) and usually fill mine with ricotta. J. always asks for meat filled and I never seem to get around to it. I thought this would be the day to indulge his wishes.
Use your favorite tomato sauce for the topping and if you aren’t up to making homemade pasta, you could stuff this filling into wonton wrappers that you can purchase at most grocery stores.
Filling for Tortelloni
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine butter with the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Add onion and cook for about 3 minutes, then add garlic. Cook for another minute.
Push onion mixture to one side of the skillet. Add beef to the exposed area, pressing down to make an even layer. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook for about 3 minutes, until underside is browned. Turn meat over and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir onions into meat and break up meat with the back of a spoon. Cook until no pink remains. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Cool about 30 minutes.
Add grated cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and nutmeg to the meat and toss lightly. Beat eggs in a small bowl and add to beef mixtire. Mix with hands until well combined. Stuff this filling into your homemade pasta (or purchased wonton wrappers) for ravioli or tortelloni. Cook, top with tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.