Ingredient of the Week, May 5 : Tortellini
Tortellini are two small circles of pasta with a small bit of filling in the middle, which are then folded and pinched in on themselves. Tortellini are a traditional pasta in the Bologna region of Italy. They are often served in broth, rather like little dumplings. It is traditional to serve them this way on Christmas Eve. But they are also good with cream and butter, or in a tomato cream sauce.
Tortellini has a curious "history." Legend has it that tortellini were created as a tribute to Venus, the goddess of love.
Tortellini literally means the bellbutton of Venus (the Roman Goddess of Love, the Greek equivalent of Aphrodite) because of the shape of it. As the legend goes, Venus and Jupiter were going to get together one night. When Venus checked into the inn, the chef found out. He went to her room, and peeked through the keyhole and saw Venus there laying half naked in bed on her back, and when the chef saw her navel, he was inspired to rush to the kitchen to create a stuffed pasta that looked like her navel, and you have the legend of the famous tortellina (tortellini is plural).
Tortellini also said to be shaped after a priest's hat.
Finally a third explanation claims that the tortellini reproduce the shape of a turtle in an effort to replicate the famous architectural features of Modena, where many 17th-century buildings allude to the turtle motif.
Packed, refrigerated or frozen, tortellini and tortelloni (similar but larger and with vegetable stuffing) appear in many locations around the world, especially where there are large Italian communities.
Do you like tortellini? How do you serve it?