Tortellini Tossed with Cream

Tortellini alla Panna


There is a story that tells of how the first tortellino was created. Once upon a time there was a baker and pasta maker who was secretly madly in love with a young girl who worked for him. Before she started work she would go and change her clothes in the back room and one day the owner could not resist the temptation to peek through the keyhole. All he could see was her belly button, but he found it so beautiful that he picked up a small round disk of pasta and shaped it like her belly button, and that is how the first tortellino was born. The best and most traditional way to serve tortellini is with homemade broth but they are also very good with cream and parmesan cheese, as in this recipe.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces lean boneless pork loin cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breast, trimmed of all fat and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces mortadella
  • ¾ cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup plus cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs of homemade pasta dough
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  1. Put 1 tablespoon of butter and the vegetable oil in a small skillet and place over medium heat. Add the pork cubes, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until cooked through, about five minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the chicken cubes to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside with the pork.
  3. Place the pork, chicken, and mortadella in a food processor and chop finely using a pulsing action. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the ricotta, egg yolk, ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are well amalgamated. Taste for salt and set aside.
  4. Roll out one quarter of the dough to the thinnest setting if using the machine or roll out the entire dough as thinly as possible by hand and cover about a quarter of the pasta sheet with plastic. Cut the pasta into 1 ½-inch disks put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center and shape the tortellino as indicated in the video. If you are using the pasta machine you may be able to recycle the leftover dough rolling it into a ball and thinning it out again. Otherwise keep the trimmings to use in a soup. When done set the tortellini on a clean dry cloth. Continue until all the pasta and/or filling has been used.
  5. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat. When the water boils, add 2 tablespoons salt and use the towel to slide in the tortellini. Cook until the part where they are sealed is al dente.
  6. While the tortellini are cooking, put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the cream in a 10-inch skillet and place over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the cream has reduced by a third then remove from the heat. When the tortellini are done, drain well, and add to the pan with the sauce and add the cup of grated Parmigiano, Toss well and serve at once.