My wife bought me a pasta machine for Christmas and I have since been on a mission to make stuffed pasta at least once a week with varying degrees of success. My first efforts were thick and rubbery; my subsequent endeavours were rather clumsy and rustic.
So instead of soldiering on, I got help from the experts.
Giacobazzis deli in north London is a family shop run by a wonderful couple called Raff and Renata since 1991.
Raff comes from the Apennine mountains of Northern Italy, in between Modena and Bologna. Renata is London born but is very proud of her Italian blood! Her mother was from the same village as Raff and her father is from Parma.
After marrying and living in Italy for three years, they decided to come to London,as Renata was convinced that she was not the only one who would love to eat Raffs food!
Now they make everything from anti-pasti to fresh pasta, and sell everything from Parma ham to porcini mushrooms, from pecorino to burata. If its superb quality Italian youre after, Giacobazzis is the place to go
After reading about my efforts to make stuffed pastas, Renata invited me along for a masterclass with Giacobazzis pasta master, Nicos.
And so, this week, I was treated to a hands-on demonstration in the arts of making tortelloni and ravioli.
This is the first of those lessons¦How to make Tortelloni
1. First make your pasta dough. Recipes vary, but mine for 4 people is 200g sieved tipo 00 flour, 2 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks. Bring together to form a dough. Knead for 10 mins. Set the pasta machine to the widest setting. Feed the dough through five times, then reduce the setting. Keep feeding and reducing the setting until you get to the thinnest setting. Cut the sheets of dough down as you go along to keep them manageable. At the end of the process you should have several sheets of pasta, approx. 1 mm thick.
2. On a floured surface, lay out a pasta sheet approx. 10 cm wide and 60cm long. Use a pasta wheel to cut the sheets into approx. 10cm x 10cm squares.
3. Take a spoonful of your pasta filling (Nicos used ricotta, mushrooms, Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper) and place in the centre of the sheet. Do this approx. six times at equal intervals.
4. Now its time to fold. These pictures and the video above tell the story better than any words I could write.