Italian tortellini alla panna e prosciutto: tortellini in cream and ham sauce with Parmesan and basil.
TORTELLINI PANNA E PROSCIUTTO
Amazingly creamy and delicious tortellini alla panna or tortellini in cream sauce with prosciutto, an Italian classic recipe easy to make and always soooo good!
Back from the holidays this week. We spent one week in beautiful Italy and what did I brought back?
Some delicious recipes like these tortellini alla panna e prosciutto, lots of genuine Parmesan, a few bottles of Italian extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, wine, grissini, risotto rice, pasta, scarmozza and so on... Only food as you might have noticed...
I've been to Italy before, in Sicily, many years ago, before the kids were born and what I remember most vividly about that trip (except the almost unbearable August heat and the beauty of Palermo) is the food as well.
Amazing pasta in bell pepper and cream sauce, eggplants parmigiana, which I must have eaten 6 times in the 3 weeks I spent there, thin veal schnitzel in lemon sauce, the best figs ever, amazing grapes and tomatoes and again huge slabs of Parmesan which I brought home.
This time around it was more about the seafood, I had grilled seafood, fried seafood, risotto with prawns and calamari, clams and mussels antipasti and so on. The only un-fishy restaurant dish I had (in Padua) was a plate of veal liver with onion sauce on a bed of polenta. It was so delicious, I could have had the triple portion.
And the best thing we experienced while in Italy? Venice – the most beautiful town I have ever seen in my life. We went there by train and spent a whole day walking through the town, but I swear I could have spent the whole week there and not be bored.
This is not a travel blog, so I will not spend many words here talking about the wonders of Venice, but if you ever get the chance to visit Italy, do make a trip to Venice, it is unbelievably beautiful!
TORTELLINI ALLA PANNA
What about this recipe for tortellini alla panna e prosciutto? It was something my son, Bruno, ordered in a restaurant. He actually wanted to eat schnitzel that evening, but as schnitzel was not on the menu, he had to go for some kind of pasta dish.
I had only ordered seafood antipasti that evening, which were amazing, but not particularly filling, so I was kind of glad that Bruno only managed to eat about the half of the tortellini in cream sauce. I had the rest and I have to say I liked them even more than I liked what I just had... Absolutely delicious!
Such a simple recipe, only a few ingredients and really not a lot of work involved (unless you make your own tortellini, which the restaurants make, but which I don't), but such an amazing result. You will absolutely adore those tender and delicate tortellini in that creamy Parmesan sauce, those hearty ham bits, the basil flavor...
INGREDIENTS FOR TORTELLINI ALLA PANNA
- As mentioned above, you could make the tortellini yourself. I did make tortellini a couple of times in my life, but to tell you the truth, it takes too much time to make them on a regular basis, you will need a lot of practice to really be able to make good tortellini and I am really not patient enough for this kind of fiddly work.
- So, unless I find a willing friend or two, who just happen to be in the mood to make tortellini or any other kind of filled pasta with me, I let it be and buy the tortellini.
- Fresh tortellini are widely available in almost any supermarket, they are not particularly expensive and once you have found a brand you really like, you kind of stick to that.
- There are three sorts of tortellini you can buy: meat tortellini, cheese tortellini and ricotta and spinach tortellini.
- I usually go for the cheese version, they really taste nice and cheesy, while the meat ones don't really taste like meat. When it comes to meat tortellini, the homemade ones are the only ones worth eating, if you ask me, they are thousand times better.
- The ricotta and spinach tortellini are totally delicious as well, but as the kids always have to nag when it comes to spinach, I let them be most of the times.
- You can use any sort of tortellini you like for this Italian tortellini recipe, but I do recommend the cheese version.
- Fresh tortellini have a very short cooking time, about 3 minutes, so keep that in mind when you start cooking, as they should be served immediately.
- You will need about 750-800 g/ 1.6-1.7 lbs of fresh tortellini for the tortellini alla panna. You might think that is not that much when you see the tortellini bags, but trust me, it is enough, the dish is very filling. We even had some leftovers, which my husband devoured cold in the evening.
- You will need some cooked ham for this dish, ideally Italian prosciutto cotto, but if you cannot find that or if it's too expensive, regular cooked ham will do as well.
- You will need to buy ham in a piece and not sliced ham, as you will have to cut the piece of ham into stripes.
- I used regular heavy/double cream for this cheese tortellini recipe.
- And the Parmesan. Do use the real thing, which you can grate yourself and not the already grated sort, which is cheaper, but has nothing to do with real Parmesan (or real cheese) when it comes to taste and structure.
- I know I tend to be rather dogmatic when it comes to grated cheese, but I am talking from experience here. I have tried already grated cheese before, all sorts available here: grated hard cheese, grated Gouda, grated pizza cheese mix with mozzarella and Gouda, grated whatever.
- If you would like to make the test yourself, get yourself a pack of grated Gouda for instance and a piece of Gouda, which you then grate yourself. Taste the two, you will notice the difference immediately. And there is absolutely no doubt in my mind which is better.
- And how long does it really take to grate the cheese yourself? 30 seconds? Maybe one or two minutes if you really have to grate a lot of cheese and then you can always grate it in the food processor. Washing the grater and the chopping board will probably take another minute, and that only if you don't have a dishwasher.
- Not to mention that a piece of cheese is always cheaper than already grated cheese (at least in Germany), so compare the price per kilogram. Another win!
- And did you ever took the time to check the list of ingredients on a packet of already grated cheese? You will be amazed and thoroughly disgusted.
- And if you don't manage to use the whole package of grated cheese in 2 or 3 days, it will start getting bad quite quickly, it will be full of green or white mold and that is really disgusting.
- But enough about cheese!
- The basil was more of a garnish in the restaurant in Italy, but as I have lots of fresh basil on my window sill at the moment, I used more. And it was a good idea, because it made the dish even better than I remembered it, I just love basil.
HOW TO MAKE TORTELLINI ALLA PANNA?
This recipe for tortellini panna e prosciutto is very quick and simple, this is a dish you can really make in about 10 minutes or so, the longest it takes is to bring the water needed to cook the tortellini to a boil.
And if you want to speed things up, make sure the water is already hot when poured into the pan, cook the water in a kettle. This will save you a lot of time.
- Start cooking the water for the tortellini. Add some salt to the water.
- While waiting for the water to cook, cut the cooked ham into stripes and grate the Parmesan.
- Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold the tortellini as well later, and cook the ham until nicely colored on all sides, this will take about 3 or 4 minutes.
- When the water is cooking, give the fresh tortellini to the pan of water and cook them according to the packet's instructions, this would normally take about 3 minutes.
- While the tortellini are cooking, give the cream to the pan and let it reduce slightly for about 2 minutes. Add the spices and the grated Parmesan. Stir well.
- Drain the tortellini well and give them to the pan with the sauce. Stir well, add some more salt and pepper to taste and the chopped basil.
- Serve the tortellini in cream sauce immediately sprinkled with more Parmesan. A simple salad with vinaigrette dressing would make a perfect side dish.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Tortellini alla panna - Tortellini with Cream Sauce
- 800 g/ 1.7 lbs fresh tortellini See note 1
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz cooked ham in a piece See note 2
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 200 ml/ 6.7 fl.oz/ ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons double/heavy cream
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- 40 g/ 1.4 oz/ ⅓ cup grated Parmesan + more Parmesan to serve See note 3
- 5-6 basil leaves
- Start cooking the water for the tortellini. Add some salt to the water. When the water is cooking, add the fresh tortellini to the pan of water and cook them according to the packet's instructions, in my case about 3 minutes.
- While waiting for the water to cook, cut the cooked ham into stripes and grate the Parmesan.
- Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold the tortellini as well later, and cook the ham until nicely colored on all sides, about 3 or 4 minutes.
- While the tortellini are cooking, pour the cream into the pan with the ham and let it bubble, and reduce slightly for about 2 minutes. Add a few gratings of nutmeg and the grated Parmesan. Stir well.
- Drain the tortellini well and add them to the pan with the sauce. Stir well, add some more salt and pepper to taste and the chopped basil.
- Serve the tortellini alla panna immediately sprinkled with more Parmesan.
- Fresh cheese tortellini would be my first choice, but tortellini with another kind of filling would be fine as well.
- Italian prosciutto cotto or another similar kind of cooked ham. Make sure the ham is in a piece and not already sliced, as you will have to cut it into thicker stripes.
- Buy a piece of Parmesan, which you can grate yourself, it is so much better.