This week our Italian friend Elena, who lives in Tokyo, Japan, shares with us a tasty and traditional recipe from Lucca, a beautiful small town in Tuscany. If you are arranging a journey in Toscana don’t miss a stop there, even just to taste the tordelli di Lucca!
Do you want to introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Elena Lencioni. I’m an electrical engineer and mother of 2 kids. I used to work for an American company operating in the Oil & Gas company till last October, when I decided to move to Tokyo, Japan with my family. Since then I’m enjoying being a full time mum, dedicating my spare time to learn as much as possible about this beautiful country.
Where are you originally from?
I’m born in Livorno, but raised in Rome. My family is from Lucca and this is actually where I belong originally. Even though I lived there only some periods of my life I consider it my town and I literally love it.
And now, talking about food, what’s your favourite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?
My daughters love Lasagne al pesto which I do simply layering lasagna with a mix of pesto, bechamel sauce, grated zucchini and mozzarella cheese. 20 minutes in the oven and they’re ready.
What product do you miss mostly from Italy?
Since I moved to Japan I realised that I can find almost anything: it’s just a matter of price. You can pay up to 20 euro for 1 kg of Carnaroli rice or 10 euro for 250g of ricotta cheese. The only thing i cannot find is stracchino.. but i’m still looking!
About tordelli di Lucca…
Ingredients for 4 servings:
for the pasta fresca:
300 g all-purpouse flour
for the filling:
40 g of grated parmesan cheese
40 g of grated pecorino cheese
150 g of minced beef
150 g of minced pork
50 g mortadella
salt to taste
a spoon of extra virgin olive oil
for the seasoning:
ragú alla bolognese
Prepare first the ragú alla bolognese, the recipe here.
For the filling: in a pan sautè the oil, all the meat with thyme for around 10 min, while mixing with a spoon. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool. Then grind the cooked meat with the mortadella. Put this mixing in a bowl, add the cheeses, the eggs, the pepper, the salt, the parsley and the crumb soaked in the meat gravy and squeezed, mix all together.
For the pasta: on a wooden working surface pour the flour, make a hole in the middle, add the eggs and knead for at least 10 min using the tips of your fingers. You need to work until the dough starts to be smooth and silky instead of rough and floury.
If the dough still crumbles, just wet your hands and continue kneading to obtain a soft dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
Pasta dries much quickly, cover it with a damp clean tea towel.
Cut a piece of dough (work with small portions at a time and leave the rest covered), flatten it a bit and and roll out into a thin sheet with a pasta maker – machine. Repeat this process until the dough is smooth then gradually decrease the setting until you achieve a thickness of 1mm. Dust your work surface with some flour, put the sheet on the table and dust with flour. Put dollops of the filling on it.
Cover with another sheet of pasta and using a round pastry cutter, cut them in circles of 5 cm diameter, taking care to seal the edges of the pasta firmly (lightly brush a little water around the filling, before folding the pasta) and making sure to press out all of the air. Dust the tordelli with some flour to keep them from sticking together.
Fill a large pot three-fourths full of water and bring to boil. Add the salt and then the tordelli. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tordelli rise to the surface and are al dente, 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the tordelli, mix them with the ragu’ and finish with the grated parmesan.