Michelin-star chef Luigi Fineo has taken over soccer superstar Alessandro Del Piero’s kitchen at No.10, bringing with him the Southern Italian dishes of his native Puglia and upping the game at the elegant West Hollywood restaurant. Famous for his pastas like spaghetti with sea urchin, tagliatelle with Neapolitan beef ragu and bucatini carbonara, Fineo is sharing his recipe for tortellini in brodo e Lambrusco in honor of National Tortellini Day today.
Originally from the southern region of Emilia, Bologna and Modena in particular, the delightful navel-shaped pasta are usually stuffed with a mix of meat, raw prosciutto, mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano, egg and nutmeg served in a delicate capon broth.
Legend has it, that when Venus stayed at a local inn near Emilia, the innkeeper was so overcome by her beauty, it inspired him to create a pasta shape based on her perfect navel after spying on the goddess through a keyhole.
“A traditional soup from Emilia Romagna of handmade filled pasta and a rich chicken broth, in Modena we add a splash of local lambrusco to cut the richness,” Fineo tells L.A. Weekly. Here’s his recipe for a romantic Italian dinner of belly button pasta. (For those who don’t have a pasta machine and are looking for the ultimate shortcut, drop into No. 10 and have the maestro make it for you himself.)
Tortellini in Brodo e Lambrusco
For the broth
- 1.5 lbs. chicken bones
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 peeled onion
- 1 large peeled carrot
- 1 stick celery
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 head of garlic cut in half horizontally
In a large pot set over a medium heat, combine all the ingredients for the broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours, removing any foam that forms on the surface. Allow the broth to cool slightly, then remove the chicken bones and vegetables and pass through a sieve. Reserve to one side.
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons pasta flour
- 2 whole brown eggs
On a work surface, form the flour into a well. Crack the eggs into the center of the well. Whisk the eggs with a fork, incorporating the flour a little at a time, until the dough starts to come together. Carry on with your hands, kneading the dough until you have a smooth, elastic ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- 8 oz. of prosciutto sliced
- 8 oz. of mortadella sliced
- ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 2 whole brown eggs
- nutmeg, freshly grated
- freshly ground black pepper
Mince the prosciutto and mortadella. Combine the meat with the parmesan and eggs, then season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Divide the pasta dough into 3 pieces. Roll the balls out on a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting and moving progressively down to the lowest. Spread the sheets over a floured work surface. Cut each sheet into 3 cm. squares, then place a small amount of the filling onto each square (about half a teaspoon).
Fold the square diagonally in half onto itself to form a triangle, then fold it again so that the corners at the bases come together to form a pocket. Whilst you are forming the pasta try to squeeze out any air bubbles, as these will expand and burst. Use a little water to seal the pasta together if needed.
Once you have sealed all the tortellini, reheat the broth. Season to taste and, once simmering, add the tortellini. Cook for about a minute, then remove from the heat.
Divide the tortellini and broth between six serving bowls and top with grated Parmesan and finish it with a splash of lambrusco wine.