Do you own a cookbook and if so, what was the first one you bought or were given? The first one I purchased was the Fannie Farmer back in 1980 before I was married. My paternal grandmother gave me The Joy of Cooking as a shower gift for my wedding. Another I cherish is the Purity Cookbook (1967 edition); a lot of my mom’s cooking (savory and sweet recipes) came from this book. The first Purity cookbook was compiled in 1917. At the time, Canadian milling companies competed for their fair share of the flour market and wanted a way to win a customer’s loyalty by offering a free cookbook. Other published cookbooks by flour companies were Five Roses and Robin Hood. These cookbooks were in my family for generations. As my cookbook collection grew, I started to look for specialized ones. Italian food periodicals would often reference The Silver Spoon as a must-have but at the time (1998) only Italian printed copies were available. My curiosity was peaked. When I took a few Italian cooking classes in the early 2000s, my friend Francesca once said to me, “my darling, Il Cucchiaio d’Argento is my Italian bible!” Finally, in 2005 The Silver Spoon was translated into English! My latest book, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi, was given to me by my son this past Christmas. A few years ago my husband bought the Kindle version for me and as much as I was pleased to have it, I am a tactile kinda gal! None of my cookbooks are electronic. This recipe, tortellini bolognese soup, is an adaptation from Artusi’s 1891 book.
Don’t worry if you have leftover tortellini meat filling (you’ll be happy you do!). Use it to stuff manicotti or add a tomato sauce and toss with spaghetti. Change up the stuffed pasta size and make ravioli or stuff conchiglie (large shells) and top with your favorite tomato sauce. This meat mixture is exceptionally delicious and I would never have thought in a million years to mix mortadella with prosciutto.
100g minced pork or turkey
100g sliced mortadella
100g sliced prosciutto
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
fresh pasta rolled out thinly (save time, use wonton wrappers)
beef or chicken broth
Cook the pork over medium heat, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. In a food processor, add mortadella and prosciutto. Pulse until fine. Add pork and pulse to combine. In a bowl add meat mixture and parmesan cheese. Add the egg and mix until combined.
Cut the rolled out pasta using a 2-inch round cutter. Place 1/2 teaspoon of meat filling in the middle of each circle. Wet upper half of pasta circle with water. Lift, fold in half and press gently with your fingers to secure edges come together. Fold again in half and wet one side of the pasta; meet the other side and press to secure. Repeat process.
Heat a pot of broth to a gentle boil. Add tortellini, a few at a time, and when they rise to the top, they are done. Serve with chopped parsley or a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: “It used to be said that pasta was the forage of man. Today doctors advise us to eat it sparingly, less it overly dilate the stomach and reduce our consumption of meat. Meat strengthens the body’s fibers, while starches, such as pastas are usually made of, create fatty tissue, which cause flabbiness”. Even in 1891 pasta was getting a bad reputation! Enjoy!