Leek makes a novel stuffing for pasta. The way it is handled in this recipe, however, illustrates a fundamental Italian approach. The leek is cooked down slowly, its liquid evaporated, then it is browned. Following that, it is chopped and mixed with egg, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Thus a new stuffing acquires a recognizably Italian taste.
Stuffing for pasta can be done with a variety of vegetables, cheeses, meats, or fish. It must not contain large pieces of anything; nor may it resemble the undifferentiated consistency of baby food. It should invariably contain at least one of the following elements of flavor: Parmesan or nutmeg and, in the case of cooked stuffing, that special savoriness that comes from insaporire, the sautéing and browning of ingredients.
The sauce for these tortelloni is a particularly rich one of tomatoes and cream in which the tomatoes are cooked over a soffritto of onion, carrot, and celery. It could be an excellent sauce for other stuffed pasta such as tortelloni with Swiss chard (see
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