Crab Tortelloni Tuscany

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Burrito Bill
Here's how this one happened...

...I moved to Tucson after my Navy days, working as a TV and VCR repairman. For awhile, one of my old Navy buddies, TJ (mentioned in the Tale of Two Lasagnas post) was my roomie. One early Saturday morning, he came back from his Friday night excursions with a package of imitation crab meat. He could not tell me how he got it, as his partying wiped his memory of anything that had happened that night. But he tossed this on the kitchen counter, asked me to do something with it, and then passed out of the sofa.

I stared at this stuff for awhile, hoping for an inspiration. None came. So, I open the package and ate one of the slivers- and I rather liked it. I thought an Alfredo might go well with it, and by dinner time, I had come up with this recipe. You can, of course, use fake crab, but I've also made it with real crab, and it's just that much better. Also, if you use Fettucine pasta or store bought tortellini, you can make this dish in less than an hour. However, I like to do things the hard way, so here's the recipe.

For Filling

* 1/2 lb finely grated mozzarella cheese
* 16 ounces ricotta cheese
* 16 ounces cottage cheese
* 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup finely grated romano cheese
* 1 (4 ounce) can chopped olives
* 1 tablespoon basil
* 1 tablespoon mint
* 1 tablespoon oregano
* 1 tablespoon thyme
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For Pasta

* 4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons dried basil or marjoram or sage, crushed
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4 beaten eggs
* 2/3 cup water
* 2 teaspoons cooking oil or olive oil
* 1 dozen fennel seed, to add to boiling water
* 1 teaspoon additional olive oil, to add to boiling water


* 1 lb crabmeat (imitation is okay)
* 1/4 cup minced garlic
* 1 cup finely chopped onion
* 1 cup chopped portabella mushroom
* 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon basil
* 1 teaspoon oregano
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon paprika


For Tortelloni Filling:

A. Put all ingredients in large bowl.

B. Mix it all together until well-mixed.

C. Cover and refrigerate.

For Pasta:
A. Put a coupla cups of flour in a mixing bowl.

B. Put a coupla pinches of oregano, dried basil, sage and marjoram in with the flour, along with a healthy pinch of salt. Mix it together.

C. Beat two eggs, and add to the flour.

D. Add a tablespoon of olive oil.

E. Throw in about a half-cup of water.

F. Mix this all together real good.

G. On a floured counter, kneed this mass until it is nice and smooth. Then, cover it and let it sit for ten minutes or so.

H. Cut the dough into 4 portions.

I. Roll each section flat until each is about 16" square. Then cut each section into sixteen 4" squares.

J. Get the filling mixture and place a heaping teaspoon filling into a square. Fold the square over the filling corner to corner.

K. Press the seam to seal the filling inside the pasta (it should look like a fat little triangle). Take the two far ends of the triangle, one in each hand, and giving a half twist to one side, meet and press the two ends together (it should look like a little bishop's hat). Place the tortelloni on a rack to dry. Repeat this process for all squares.

The Sauce:

A. In large skillet under low heat saute garlic, onion, portobello mushrooms and spices in the olive oil.

B. Once onions are translucent, add the crabmeat, heavy whipping cream, milk and salt. Bring to a simmer slowly.

Put it together:

A. In large pot, bring water with 1 t olive oil and a dozen or so fennel seeds to a rolling boil.

B. Add tortelloni to the water.

C. Boil them until they all float, stirring occasionally.

D. Meanwhile, using the flour, thicken the sauce to taste (personally I never use more than 1/4 c flour).

E. Place tortelloni on a plate and cover with sauce and sprinkle lightly with paprika (I sometimes will also sprinkle the top lightly with parmesan or mozzarella cheese).

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