Tortelli d’Erbette

Tortelli d’erbette - i.e. Swiss chard ravioli - is perhaps the most typical dish of Emilia-Romagna, and it is always prepared for the most important festivities. It seems that tortelli (literally “bent”) owe their name to the fact of being made of egg pasta dough that has been "folded" to contain the filling. Already known and appreciated in the Po Valley around the twelfth century as a typical dish of the wealthy families, it has become, over the centuries, a dish within everyone’s reach, for its easily available and cheap ingredients. It is a tasty and nutritious dish, that combines proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates and is therefore perfect as a main course.


(serve 4)
300g/10.5oz pastry flour
4 eggs
150g/5.3oz cow's milk ricotta
200g/7oz Swiss chard
200g/7oz grated Parmesan
50g/1.7oz butter
salt, pepper q.s.
nutmeg q.s.


Place the flour on a board and make a well in the centre, then crack 3 eggs into it. Knead vigorously until the dough has become smooth. Fold the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare the filling, by sifting the ricotta and incorporating the boiled Swiss chard, finely chopped, the yolk of an egg, 100g/3.5oz of Parmesan cheese and some grated nutmeg. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a thin pastry sheet about 1mm/0.03in thick. Then spread out the pastry sheet over a board and, with the tip of a knife, divide it into 6/8-cm/2- 3in squares.


Put some filling on each square, with a sac-àpoche or pastry bag, then cover the squares with the edge of the pastry sheet. Cut your tortelli with a pastry wheel cutter. Boil them in salted water in a large pot and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Drain and sauté with butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve them hot.