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Old 11-09-2004, 12:47 PM   #1
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Hand Forming Stuffed Pasta

I will deal with as many Italian varieties as I can differentiate. You should note that
frequently variations in shape are minor, and often identical forms are called by
different names in different towns and in different parts of the country. For that
reason my allocation of names to forms is somewhat arbitrary, but it will have to do
for the time being.

All the shapes depend on either a circle or a square of pasta.

The instructions below assume that you already have your dough and filling made up
in the correct proportions, as discussed elsewhere.

1. Cannelloni

This is the simplest form of stuffed pasta and hardly requires any instruction.
Virtually any traditional ravioli type filling can be used, as well as seafood or

Use lasagne sized sheets of pasta, or smaller, and cook them and drain them first.

Place the filling in a sausage shape across the short end of the sheet and roll up.

Do not overfill them, and get the proportion of pasta to filling correctly balanced.
Then finish off in the oven with a little béchamel or butter and stock and parmesan.

2. Ravioli using a Tray

Lightly flour the tray to ensure an easy release from the mould. Place the sheet of
dough over the tray loosely so that when you come to press the dough into the cavities
you do not tear it. Now VERY CAREFULLY push and stretch the dough into the
trays cavities. Do not let the dough tear.

Fill the cavities with the stuffing, up to the top level of the tray.

Now ensure the sheet of pasta you are going to use for the top covers the bottom fully.

Brush the covering sheet with beaten egg white or egg thinly and lay it on top. Try as
far as possible to ensure that you do not trap any air in the ravioli as it may cause
bursting. If you have filled the cavities correctly, you should have no problem.

Use the rollers to seal and cut the ravioli in the tray. Considerable downward force is
required, go over each section at least twice, and inspect to ensure they are sealed.

Turn out the complete sheet gently, and CAREFULLY peel them apart.

Place on a floured tray and cover with a cloth until cooked or frozen.

With practice a very professional machine type finish can be obtained.

3. Ravioli by Hand

This has already been covered elsewhere, so will not be repeated in detail. Simply
decide how large you want your ravioli, and place appropriate sized spoonfuls on the
sheet of pasta in two, three or four rows.

Paint the other sheet with sealant and cover. Working from the center rows outward to
the edge tamp down the pasta around the filling gently, excluding the air, and using
your fingers forcefully seal the pasta in between. Work down the length of the pasta.

Once you are satisfied that they are all sealed, you may cut them out using a pastry
wheel for a crinkled edge, or a knife for a straight edge. Store as above.

4. Agnolotti

To make Agnolotti instead of ravioli, use a cookie cutter with a straight or fluted edge
to cut out the ravioli made as above.

Or if you have one use a stampa di agnolotti, which is oval in shape.

Of course, this wastes a lot of your carefully prepared dough by cutting out circles.

But you can use it to impress an important guest, with the correct filling from a
specific town.

Also known as priests hats, for obvious reasons.

5. Anolini, Mezza Lune

To make anolini instead of ravioli, you cut out a round of pasta dough with a straight
or fluted edge cookie cutter or wine glass etc, place the stuffing on the circle of dough
and fold in half to seal.

You must of course use egg to seal the edges and many cooks crimp the edge with a

Now even a brief thought will show that this is a much more laborious method of

You can brush the whole sheet with egg , put on the filling and then cut out around
the filled heaps and remove the lattice. But you must work quickly.

Or you can cut out and remove the lattice and paint each circle or five to ten at a time
and stuff them individually.

Experiment to see what suits you best.

You will of course waste dough, and if you make small ones will give yourself a great
deal of work.

But it may pay back if you make them a bit larger, like small calzoni.

6. Pansotti

This does not require much explanation. It is a SQUARE version of the last one.

Best practice is to cut off a strip of dough with a straight edge and mark out the
squares, brush with egg, place on the stuffing, cut out the square and seal.

7. Tortelloni, Tortelli, Tortellini, Capaletti

Different sized versions of the same thing.

Download/save the image below:

This is a guide that represents the size of the square needed to make large, standard,
and small tortelli. (You can alter the size later at your leisure. Use this for the

Print out the grid and cut up into three strips.

Now, place one of the grids on your sheet of pasta and roll out the pasta until you
have a piece one, two, etc. strips wide, depending on the size of tortelli you are
making. Cut out your long strips of dough the width of the size that you are making.

Now carefully move the strip down, and using a knife nick the strip of dough along
one edge at each division. Gently curve the dough into a shallow arc to SLIGHTLY
open up the nicks, like a printers registration mark or a dressmakers notch. You now
have a strip of dough with marks dividing it into perfect squares.

Paint with sealant, place the filling in the middle of the squares, cut up into squares
using the registration marks, fold to make a triangle, and seal. Now wrap the long
edge around a finger and pinch together or roll together, fold the top edge forward and
you are finished.

You are advised to make the large or medium sized ones first before attempting the
small. Once experienced, you will be able to make even these tiny capaletti. But
children are much better and frequently enjoy it, when young. And remember it when
they grow up.

There does not appear to be any size limit here:

Just remember to keep the thickness of the pasta in proportion to the size of tortelloni
and amount of filling.

8. Agnolotti

Exactly the same as the tortelli except you use a round cutter with a straight or fluted

Bon appetito.


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Old 11-09-2004, 12:49 PM   #2
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Wow, Darkstream! After reading all the information you have provided us, where do I pick up my Ph.D.?

Kool Aid - Think before you drink.
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Old 11-09-2004, 12:57 PM   #3
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really, very cool, thanks darkstream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The past is gone it's all been said.
So here's to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
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Old 11-09-2004, 02:37 PM   #4
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You are my HERO!!!!!

I am almost speechless to have this information at hand and thank you from the depths of my pasta-making soul! The template and tips (how handy!) for the tortelloni to capaletti sizing is especially welcomed, and I realize now that my most recent experimentations have yielded anolini. I certainly couldn't agree more with the inherent wasting of dough using round shapes, however recycled and re-rolled, but they are so beautiful!

Wow. Thank you, Darkstream!
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is Optional.
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