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Nigel Slater’s recipe for tortellini with spinach sauce | Food


The recipe

Bring 500ml of milk to the boil in a saucepan, add 2 bay leaves and 6 lightly crushed black peppercorns. Flatten, but don’t peel, 3 cloves of garlic. Add them to the seasoned milk, then remove from the heat, cover with a lid and set aside.

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Wash 400g of spinach. Put the wet leaves in a saucepan and place over a moderate heat, tightly covered. Cook for a couple of minutes, remove the lid, turn the spinach over with kitchen tongs, then cover and cook for a further minute or two until the leaves have wilted and cooked in their own steam. Remove from the heat, drain and squeeze most of the water out.

Cook 16 stuffed tortellini in boiling, lightly salted water and drain them. Rinse the spinach saucepan, melt 35g of butter in it over a moderate heat, then stir in 35g of flour. Continue stirring for 3 or 4 minutes until you have a smooth, ivory-coloured paste. Stir in the warm, infused milk with a wooden spoon, a little at a time, abandoning the bay leaves and garlic as you go. Let the sauce come to the boil, stirring continually until thick and creamy. Chop the spinach and stir into the sauce, together with 250ml of double cream, salt and a little nutmeg.

Put half the sauce into a baking dish, add the drained tortellini then add the remaining sauce. Grate a little parmesan over the surface and bake for 35 minutes until bubbling. Serves 2

The trick

The better the tortellini, the better the dish. I use plump dumplings from the fresh pasta counter for this, but the vacuum-packed variety are OK. Some fillings are more appropriate than others. Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) or ricotta and spinach (for a double-green whammy) are particularly good.

The twist

Gnocchi are a real treat cooked like this, too. Cook them in boiling water and drain, then add to the sauce with a little shredded prosciutto.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater



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