Cheese Tortellone

To make these cheese-filled tortellone, find a good quality full-fat ricotta. Those labeled “basket-style” will be smooth and especially creamy. If the ricotta seems wet, place it in a colander or cheesecloth-lined strainer for 30 minutes and allow the excess moisture to drain off. Our filling includes parsley and basil too but you could add any chopped fresh herbs or chopped cooked spinach, another traditional filling. Grated lemon zest, which is optional, gives it a bright finish.
Like the nonne have taught us, we knead the pasta by hand to get a feel for the dough and how much flour to use. But you can certainly use a stand mixer instead. A pasta machine makes rolling easy unless, of course, you’re a Tuscan Women Cook traveler who brought home a mattarello along with lessons from our nonne. Strive for dough that is 1/8-inch thick. We find that a rolling cutter is the easiest tool to use to cut the dough into 4-inch squares. 
All you need is a walnut-sized dab of filling on each square of pasta. (If you have any leftover filling, use it to stuff shells or thin slices of zucchini.) To shape each tortellone, fold the square of dough into a triangle then press the edges together to seal the dough pocket. Hold the filled dough triangle between your thumb and forefinger. With the other hand, bring the corners of the long edge together and wrap around your index finger. Then pinch the ends together. 
Depending on the thickness of your dough, the tortellone take little time to cook. While they cook, melt the butter in a large skillet just until it browns. This forms the base of the light sauce, which includes some of the pasta cooking water along with more fresh basil. 
It is best to freeze any tortellone not eaten the day they are made. Line a tray with parchment and dust it lightly with flour. Place them spaced ½-inch apart on the prepared tray and freeze. They’ll keep for a 6–7 days.
Course: Pasta


For the pasta

  • 2 cups "00" flour
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cold water, as needed

Tortellone filling

  • 1 pound fresh ricotta, drained
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup combined chopped basil & chopped parsley

Tortellone sauce for 12 tortellone

  • 3 ounces butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp slivered fresh basil
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • grated Parmesan, as needed


  • Mound the flour and salt on a worktable. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs. Using a fork, stir the flour into the eggs until you have a soft dough. Using your fingers, continue to add the remaining flour, kneading it into a firm ball of dough. If the dough seems too dry, add a few drops of water as needed.
  • Turn the dough ball and small bits out onto a dry work surface and knead the dough until smooth, about 10 to 12 minutes. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours to relax.
  • To make the filling, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate for 30 minutes for the filling to firm.
  • See step-by-step photos below. To fill the pasta, cut the dough into four equal portions. Set up a pasta machine and set it to the largest opening. Flatten one piece of dough into an even rectangle. Run it through the largest opening of the pasta machine. Continue decreasing the thickness of the dough until it is 1/8-inch thick.
  • Cut the dough into 4-inch squares using a knife or rolling cutter and ruler. Spoon walnut-sized mounds of the filling, about 2 tablespoons each, onto each square of dough.
  • To shape each tortellone, fold the square of dough into a triangle. Press the edges together, trimming the edges if you like. Bring the corners of the long edge together around your index finger. And pinch the ends together. Place the tortellone a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and lightly sprinkled with flour. Repeat with the remaining pasta and filing.
  • To serve the tortellone, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the tortellone and boil uncovered for about 8–9 minutes, or until the pasta begins to float.
  • While the tortellone cook, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat cooking until it browns slightly. Add the oil.  When the tortellone are cooked, scoop them out of the cooking water directly into the butter and oil. Toss them gently, add the slivered basil, black pepper and cook a minute. Serve immediately on warm plates with some of the pan sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.