We are currently on an Easter holiday in Tuscany. Today we are exploring the small fort town of Monteriggioni, which is about 17 km from Siena. This town is famous for its interesting fortifications and turrets and is even featured in one of Dante’s works. It’s a rather damp day and after walking along the battlements and peering over the edge of the wall to the olive groves below, we decide to head into one of the many restaurants in the piazza for lunch.
We settle down and I start to scan though the menu looking at the different options. As I glance over the first course (primo piatto) options, which is typically comprised of pasta and rice dishes contrary to the heavier meat dishes found in the second course (secondo piatto), I spot a rather interesting menu description. Pork and turkey filled tortello pasta with truffle and parmesan in parchment. Tortello is a kind of ravioli.
I had seen tortello and truffles before, but had not seen them in parchment. It was unclear what it meant. Was it a miss translation of pastry maybe? In any case the description, even if it was a miss translation, intrigued me, so I ordered it merely out of curiosity. As I waited eagerly for the dish to arrive I enjoyed the local olive oil and bread, an Italian classic.
When the dish finally arrived, I was surprised to see that the pasta had been wrapped in baking paper to form a bag. The waiter carefully unwrapped the parcel to reveal my tortello and truffles nestled inside. I tucked in, taking great care not to rip the paper, so as not to lose any of the gorgeous oils.
The tortello was soft and delicately moist. I later learned that the pasta is placed in the bag and then into an oven for 20 minutes. This gives it its soft texture while retaining the moisture and shape. The truffles had a rich nutty taste which complimented the strong salty parmesan cheese and the meat in the pasta was seasoned with rosemary and thyme. I devoured the entire thing and spent the last few minutes of the meal happily wiping up the left over oil and cheese with the bread.
This is certainly a unique way of cooking pasta to perfection and something I will attempt myself. This was one of the best dishes I had on my trip to Tuscany which was devilishly delicious.