How to make tortellini

How to make tortellini

How to make tortellini

Tortellini is a small, ring-shaped filled pasta hailing from Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Traditionally, tortellini are filled with minced pork or veal and served in a rich meaty broth. However, they are equally delicious when filled with ricotta and spinach or crab and prawn.

Making and shaping tortellini takes a little practice and they aren’t the quickest of foods to prepare, but the homemade version beats shop-bought varieties hands down and can be frozen, so it's worth making a big batch to have a go-to supper on hand for busier days.

Whatever filling you choose, make sure it’s cool before making the tortellinis and that your pasta is removed from the fridge around 30 minutes before you need it to make it easier to work with. It is also important that the filling is not too wet, as this will make tortellini difficult to shape and may mean they burst in the water.

Cut the pasta (this makes it easier to work with) into two and keep one piece under a tea towel so it doesn’t dry out
Roll the pasta gradually through a pasta machine to a thickness of 1–2mm (the thinnest setting) and flour the work surface liberally
Use an 8cm pastry cutter to cut out circles of the pasta. Keep the pasta you are not using covered by tea towel
To make the tortellini, place a teaspoon of your filling in the center of a circle and moisten the edge with a very small amount of water using a pastry brush
Gently fold the pasta over and seal at the top. Work your fingers down the edges to seal, pushing out any air bubbles as you go
Take the corners of the pasta and bring together around your little finger and press together to seal
Repeat until have used all the pasta and filling, storing them on a floured tray until you are ready to cook them
To cook the tortellini, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, gently stir the water to create a whirlpool and drop in the tortellinis. Don’t overcrowd the pan and cook in batches if you need to
Cook for 3–4 minutes then drain and toss in a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking


If you wish to freeze tortellinis for a later date, place them on a tray and transfer to the freezer. Once frozen, they can then be transferred to a plastic container without getting misshapen.

The tortellinis can be made and cooked in advance – just refresh in iced water after cooking and store on a tray with a little olive oil. To reheat, drop back into boiling water for a couple of minutes and serve.

Serving suggestions

Tortellini can have many fillings; try Giuseppe D'Aquino’s Italian wedding soup with chicken tortelli (a slightly smaller version of tortellini) or Emanuele Scarvello’s simple Pasta with ragu. Gaetano Trovato serves his tortelli with a more unorthodox accompaniment of leek, asparagus and liquorice, while Aurora Mazzucchelli blends flavourful parmesan with floral lavender and crunchy almonds for a meat-free starter.