Today I stopped by my local butcher and bought some fresh ricotta delivered to him early this morning (.….Yes, the butcher sells fresh ricotta along with fresh bread and fresh eggs...) to make some “cheater’s” tortelli. The idea came to me yesterday morning since I had some lasagna sheets in the fridge and thought, “Why can’t I make tortelli out of fresh lasagna sheets?” Saves me a lot of time since I don’t have to make pasta dough? Remember I have a 6 month old with strong lungs, and so time isn’t something I have these days! Well, it became an experiment. My husband was a bit skeptical as he, being the traditional Sicilian is is, had never heard of someone doing this. Well, being the crazy experimental person I am (….he loves me for it!….) I was going to give it a try. And you know what? It was delicious! =) This time, I made it vegetarian, however next time I’m going to add some sausage or ground beef to it.
So, are we ready? Here we go….my cheater’s tortelli al forno. Maestro, the ingredients please!
-1 pkg of lasagna sheets (…the kind that doesn’t need any pre-boiling)
-1 LARGE jar of tomato sauce, home made or store bought (….if you would like a delicious recipe for home canning your own delicious tomato sauce, see my post)
-1 pound of ricotta cheese
-1 cup of pesto, store bought or home made
-2 tbsp dry oregano
Now, on to the preparation…..
Here is my fresh ricotta….I added my home made pesto on top, and mixed the two together well.
Next, using whatever utensil you prefer, make 3 inch circles (...Here, I am using a circle pasta gadget I bought while in California a few years ago…it works ok)
Once you have made your circles, begin by taking a circle and wet front and back all over the with your fingers (...that will help it from breaking…I learned that after making the first one!)
Next, place a penny-sized dollop of the ricotta and pesto mixture in the center and press the edges closed.
Once you have the first layer done, spread HALF of the tomato sauce all over…… Isn’t my sauce glamorous? 😉
Then create another layer and add the rest of the sauce.
In order to allow the pasta to cook, add water along the edges to ensure that the pasta is covered till the top. Otherwise, your pasta will be dry or undercooked.
(Tip: If there is no olive oil in your tomato sauce, I would drizzle a tbsp or two of some olive oil over the pasta at this point)
Add some tbsp dollops of the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with oregano, and bake at 200°C /400° F for about 20-30 minutes.When done, let rest at least 1 hour before serving. Resist, Resist!
Ahhhh, look at her…isn’t she yummy? Not dry at all! And, it’s very light…you won’t feel stuffy for the rest of the day =)
So go ahead and try this “cheater’s” tortelli in the oven!
For more delicious recipes, be sure to check out my new eBook “Cucina Siciliana” filled with lots of truly authentic recipes given to me by family and friends here in Sicily….it’s only 99 cents!
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