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Happy Spring.

I love this time of year. Spring is like a needed cleanse that helps me refocus on what is important in my life. Spring also marks a very important time in the Raffo family where we come together to make hundreds and hundreds of Tortelli to enjoy on Easter and future family gatherings. Participating in the “making of Tortelli” event is not an option, it is a mandatory family tradition.

The word Tortelli in Italian, means “little pies” and it is a type of pasta traditionally made in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany regions of Italy. It can be found in several shapes, including square, semi-circular, or twisted into a rounded, hat-like form.  

The Tortelli tradition goes way back in our family, and even though Gemma Raffo is 103, she still expects Tortelli to be made and served on Easter Sunday, topped with a nice marinara sauce and accompanied with strong red wine and fresh bread.

This morning, I called my mom and explained that I wanted to share our family Tortelli recipe in today’s newsletter. There was silence, and then I think she responded by mentioning that my dad had a dermatology appointment today at 11. After listening to the details about his appointment, I successfully pulled the recipe out of her. Anyone who has ever met my lovely mother Maria knows a few things about her: she has a thick Italian accent, she has a lot of opinions about a lot of things that may or may not be relevant at that very moment in the conversation-yet still very interesting, she doesn’t see much value in details, especially when it comes to recipes, just figure it out as you go.

My gift to you, the Raffo Tortelli recipe, good luck, they are delicious.

Maria Teresa Raffo’s Tortelli Filling

(in her own words with heavy Italian accent)

1-bag frozen Spinach  “you know, kind of big but not too big”

1-container Ricotta  “small, and not low fat, why would you do low fat Liza?”

eggs- “Oh, maybe 2 or 3 depending (um mom, depending on what?) “Ok, just do 3 eggs.”

Parmigiano Reggiano- “a lot.”

Nutmeg- “poco”

Salt and pepper

Bread crumbs- “you know, some people put in bread crumbs if the filling has too much liquid, but it shouldn’t.”

“I do not.”

“I really squeeze out the frozen spinach then sauté the spinach in some oil, butter, and garlic.”

“Make sure the filling is nice and dry or it will be a mess.”

-What makes the filling so special with our recipe? “I don’t know…  I really don’t know if it’s that special.”

-Oh, Ok. 

You know really, everyone can just look up an Italian pasta dough recipe and it will be just as good” – DOUGH Recipe:

1 egg per cup of flour “I do 3 cups of flour and 3 eggs, then 2 extra egg yolks without the egg white”

Salt “nonna Gemma never added salt. I do.”

“Create a little volcano with the flour and add your eggs into the center, then blend.  You do not need water if you use enough eggs.”

“Let the dough rest at least a couple of hours to get really beautiful. Put in a plastic bag and place in the fridge, or not.”

I love my mom, she’s the best, and incredibly entertaining for all who meet her. I hope this Spring finds you all well.

Thank you again for all of your support.