Crab Tortellini with Fresh Homemade Pasta

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Crab Tortellini with Fresh Homemade Pasta

Crab Tortellini with Fresh Homemade Pasta

This dish uses so many fresh ingredients almost on our doorstep here in North Cornwall. We get our fresh Crab from nearby Port Isaac, our eggs for the pasta from a small holding a few metres from the house, and in the spring time we serve this dish with wild garlic pesto (recipe on this website) with the wild garlic foraged from our very own back garden.

Tortellini itself looks tricky but it’s actually really simple when you understand how, and again, once you know how to make and roll your own pasta you’ll be set up to make a whole variety of new dishes from spaghetti to tagliatelli, and ravioli to lasagne!

How you serve the tortellini is up to you. I love to serve in a wild garlic pesto when this is in season in our garden, but a garlicly olive oil is also delicious, as is a lobster or crab broth/bisque and so too a spicy chilli oil or sauce.

Preparation time
Cooking time

Fresh or tinned Crab meat
Pasta Flour
Olive Oil
Pesto (optional)
Garlic (optional)

Start my preparing the fresh pasta as this will need chilling in the fridge for a short while before rolling out.

To make your pasta, empty around a fifth of a Kilo bag of pasta flour into a non metallic bowl. Hollow the middle and add to this hollow 2 fresh egg yolks which you need to mix together. Add a good glug off olive oil and draw the flour into the egg yolk mixture. Keep turning the flour with a spatula and after a while if should start to become a sticky mass.

Roll the pasta onto a work surface dusted with flour and kneed and stretch the dough for about 10 minutes or so. Don’t allow the dough to become too dry. Once prepared, and rolled into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your crab. Assuming it’s been cooked already, you should now season it. I like to add chilli flakes or chilli powder and a little olive oil. I sometimes fry off fresh crab very quickly after seasoning as I find it absorbs more flavour. You need your crab so be small enough in pieces to pinch between your fingers as the tortellini filling isn’t that dense.

To make the tortellini you next need to roll out your pasta. A pasta machine is perfect for this but otherwise, use a rolling pin and a well floured work surface again. And you are aiming for quite a thin pasta so you can taste the crab without the pasta being ‘gloopy’ or starchy. But don’t make it too thin either because if the pasta doesn’t hold together, you’ll loose the entire flavour of the tortellini filling.

Once rolled out into rectangles, cut out some circles using a pastry cutter or bottom of a beer bottle (always available in our kitchen!) Add your crab mixture to one half of the circle and then fold over the other half so you have a filled semi circle. Push down the sides of the semi circle so that the pasta binds against itself. If you pasta doesn’t bind, you can brush one edge of the pasta with water or an egg wash if need be.

Once you have a filled semi circle parcel, bend the straight edge of the semi circle as if wrapping around your little finger so the 2 corners overlap each other…and again, gently squeeze the pasta together to bind.

To cook the pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the pasta and when it floats to the surface, probably in around 3 minutes or so, the pasta is done. I like to then fry off the pasta using a little olive oil in a frying pan, where if required, you can add garlic, chilli, or pesto.

When making the pasta, try and use free range eggs. Not only are these more ethical, but also the yolks tend to be more ‘yolky’ and thus suitable for pasta.

I also find that leaving the pasta for longer makes it more workable. I have left overnight in the fridge in the past and personally find it easier to roll out the next day.

Make sure the pasta is properly sealed. If not, water will get into the filling and that tortellini will be tasteless, or it’ll fall apart.

Frying off pasta at the end is something I strangely like to do as it gets rid of some of the milkiness of cooking pasta and is the best way to add in a sauce or oil dressing before serving!

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