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29 January 2017

Vegan Wild Mushroom Tortellini


With a few days to spare between the end of the first semester and beginning  of the second I was thinking about what I could make next. I was also thinking about which foods I loved as a veggie that I had yet to try as a vegan, when I remembered how much I used to adore tortellini and how there is a surprising shortage of vegan tortellini on the market.


With that in mind and having not had the deliciousness that is fresh pasta tortellini in a good few years, I thought it was time to do some research and make it happen! There's a few things I found out whilst browsing through a countless amount of recipes, and I've listed them below, it also turns out that the shape of tortellini - round or square - is quite a regional thing, as well as the size of the pasta pieces; I went with round, 3" circles for my recipe. You also do not need a pasta maker, just a bit of time and a small amount of elbow grease and you can roll your pasta almost as thin as with a pasta roller, as long as you keep your surfaces and rolling pin well dusted with flour, and remember the rest the dough first! Instead of egg in this recipe, I used a mixture of plain flour and semolina for a bit of added texture and colour too, in the future I will definitely be experimenting with wholegrain flour and maybe some coloured pasta too!



This recipe is the perfect one to make for someone special with valentines coming up, or why not invite some friends round, open a bottle of wine and have an Italian themed dinner party? It can be much quicker with a few helpers in the kitchen! The process of making pasta is certainly a therapeutic one; take a few hours and enjoy the process. Cutting, shaping and forming each piece of pasta can take a little time, but the pasta itself requires 10 minutes kneading, 30 minutes rest and then it is ready to roll! Whilst this recipe looks long, it really is simple, just take it one step at a time!


I filled my tortellini with a mix of wild mushrooms, Italian herbs, vegan cream cheese and vegan parmesan for that authentic cheesy filling, I then wanted a simple dressing for the tortellini, so I tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and then garnished with toasted pine nuts, a sprinkling of vegan parmesan and a generous amount of fresh pepper! These tortellini are simply incredible and leave such a feeling of satisfaction when you finally tuck into the bowl of homemade pasta! If you don't like mushrooms, then why not use some roasted and mashed butternut squash in place of them, and then follow the rest of the directions as described! 


The recipe makes around 30-35 tortellini depending on pasta thickness, which will easily serve 4 people. If you're not cooking all the tortellini straight away, dust with flour and store on a baking sheet, so the tortellini do not touch and stick together. You can always freeze the tortellini for later too, just again, be sure to freeze on a flat tray, covered in cling film before combining the tortellini in a storage box etc and these will keep for up to 3 months. 


To start with the pasta, combine the plain flour, semolina and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and mix in the water. If you find that the mixture is still a little dry, wet your hands and keep on mixing. If the dough is too wet, add a pinch more flour. 


You'll then knead this for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and slowly bounces back when pressed into. Then wrap the dough and rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, whilst you prepare your filling. 


Cut the dough into quarters and wrap the other pieces up in cling film. With a well floured surface and rolling pin, begin to roll the dough out, then fold in half and roll again, repeat this one more time. Then roll the dough out as thin as you can, ensuring everything is well dusted with flour as not to stick! The dough is surprisingly easy to roll, if you tear the dough, run your rolling pin over a few more times and it should re-seal. Stretch the dough out as far in each direction as you can and when it is as thin as you feel it will go, cut the circles with your pastry cutter - I found I got about 6 circles per 1/4 of dough. Then wrap the scraps in cling film and place to one side. 


Put just less than a tsp of each filling into the centre of each circle. 


Then fold the circle in half and seal the edge tightly, ensuring to push any air out as you do. If your dough has dried slightly, dab the edge with a little water and seal tightly.


Then wrap the dough around your index finger and seal the edges together, use a dab of water if the dough is a little dry.


Fold the lip back to make the tortellini shape and place to one side whilst you repeat with the rest of the dough. When you've used all the quarters, combine the scraps and roll out again to make the rest of the tortellini.


To cook the tortellini, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook a few at a time, for around 3 minutes. Then remove with a pasta spoon and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice ready to plate up and serve!




So, a few reminders:
  • Use plenty of flour - I had a small bowl of flour for dusting in reach at all times
  • Knead for 10 minutes, the pasta is ready when pressed into and it bounces back
  • If it's not coming together, wet your hands and carry on kneading
  • Rest for 30 minutes!
  • Cover pasta dough with cling film when not using, it will dry out quickly!
  • Don't overfill the tortellini and seal tightly to avoid leaking

Vegan Wild Mushroom Tortellini | Yield: 30-35 tortellini | Serves: 4 | Time: 2 hours


You'll need

  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Rolling pin/ Pasta maker
  • Cling film
  • 3" pastry circle cutter
  • Frying pan x 2
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large saucepan
  • Slotted spoon

Ingredients

Tortellini

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup semolina
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup water + 2 tbsp

Filling

  • 1/4 white onion
  • 150g mixed variety Mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Splash white wine (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g vegan cream cheese
  • 50g finely grated vegan parmesan
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch salt

To serve

  • Glug extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegan parmesan
  • Juice 1/2 lemon 
  • Handful pine nuts 
  • Black pepper

Method

  1. To start with the pasta, combine the plain flour, semolina and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and mix in the water. If you find that the mixture is still a little dry, wet your hands and keep on mixing. If the dough is too wet, add a pinch more flour. 
  2. Knead this for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and slowly bounces back when pressed into. Then wrap the dough and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or whilst you prepare your filling. 
  3. To make the filling finely dice an onion and fry with a splash of olive oil. Then finely chop the mushrooms and add these to the pan along with 2 crushed cloves of garlic. Fry for 5 minutes, then add a splash of white wine (optional), Italian herbs, parsley and a good amount of black pepper. Reduce the heat and cook for a few more minutes. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before adding in the cream cheese and parmesan. Combine well, taste for seasoning and place to one side. Then toast the pine nuts until golden brown in a dry pan. 
  4. Cut the dough into quarters and wrap the other pieces up in cling film. With a well floured surface and rolling pin, begin to roll the dough out, then fold in half and roll again, repeat this one more time. Then roll the dough out as thin as you can, ensuring everything is well dusted with flour as not to stick! The dough is surprisingly easy to roll, if you tear the dough, run your rolling pin over a few more times and it should re-seal. 
  5. With the rolling pin, stretch the dough out as far in each direction as you can and when it is as thin as you feel it will go, cut the circles with your pastry cutter - I found I got about 6 circles per 1/4 of dough. Then wrap the scraps in cling film and place to one side. 
  6. To begin shaping the tortellini; put just less than a tsp of each filling into the centre of each circle. Then fold the circle in half and seal the edge tightly, ensuring to push any air out as you do. If your dough has dried slightly, dab the edge with a little water and seal tightly. Wrap the dough around your index finger and seal the edges together. Fold the lip back to make the tortellini shape and place to one side whilst you repeat with the rest of the dough. When you've used all the quarters, combine the scraps and roll out again to make the rest of the tortellini.
  7. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile drizzle a good amount of olive oil in a dish, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a pinch of black pepper to this and mix together. Place to one side, ready to coat the cooked tortellini.
  8. Cook the tortellini one portion at a time, for around 3 minutes. Then remove with a slotted spoon, drain for a few seconds and place in the olive oil mix, toss together and then serve on a warmed plate. Cook the rest of the tortellini and repeat. Then garnish with the toasted pine nuts, grated parmesan and black pepper. Serve up and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx


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