Skip to main content

How To Make Perfect Tortellini Arso

tortellini arso
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Feasting is our column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.

Many of our favorite dishes come from humble beginnings. Peasant foods like polenta and ratatouille were cheap and filling options when there was little or nothing else to eat. As we know, these dishes have climbed their way up through the culinary ranks and onto modern restaurant tables—not just because they’re delicious, but because they’re nostalgic as well. But there’s one peasant dish that we weren’t familiar with until we saw it on the menu at Barano, a seasonal Italian restaurant located in Brooklyn’s South Williamsburg neighborhood.

Pasta arso, or burnt flour pasta, is a traditional preparation from Italy’s Puglia region. Peasants would scour burnt wheat fields or sweep the burnt flour leftover from baking bread out of wood burning ovens. This burnt flour, or grano arso, was mixed with regular durum flour to take the supply further, and it gave bread and pasta a wonderful toasted quality in the process. Barano chef Albert di Meglio was inspired by this tradition and decided to put it on his menu in the form of Tortellini Arso—a mouthwatering preparation that includes a luscious ricotta basil filling and savory, herbal pistachio pesto.

final dish 3
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One bite and we were so hooked, we needed to learn how to make it at home. So we went into the Barano Kitchen with Chef di Meglio and documented the process so you can try it for yourself, too.

Tortellini Arso

arso-flour
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For the arso flour:

  • 125 grams durum flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread flour on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until dark in color and charred around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the arso pasta dough:

  • 125 grams arso flour
  • 320 grams durum flour
  • 320 grams wild hive bread flour 00
  • 25 grams salt
  • 75 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 100 grams water

Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl with a dough hook. Start to add the wet ingredients until they incorporate well. The dough may look crumbly—that’s okay. Roll it together in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

filling
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For the lemon basil ricotta filling:

  • 575 grams ricotta impastata
  • 1 egg
  • 40 grams basil
  • 6 grams salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 45 grams Pecorino

First, puree the eggs and basil together. Then using your hands or a spoon, combine all ingredients until they are well mixed.

pesto
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For the pistachio pesto:

  • .5 pound toasted pistachios
  • 75 grams roasted garlic
  • 21 grams blanched chervil
  • 21 grams blanched chives
  • 40 grams parsley
  • 60 grams pecorino
  • 165 grams blended oil (like Colativa)
  • 65 grams extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth.

For serving:

  • Sliced trumpet mushrooms
  • 1 small red chili, sliced
  • Parsley
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

To assemble:

Using a pasta machine, roll the dough out so it’s thinner than 1/16 of an inch. Lay the dough on a floured surface.

cutter
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Use a round cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or ring mold (about 2 inches in diameter) to cut circle shapes from the rolled out dough. Re-knead the leftover scraps, roll out another sheet and repeat.

filling-pastry-bag
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Add the lemon basil ricotta filling to a pastry bag. Place half a teaspoon of filling in the middle of a dough circle. Using your index finger—or a pastry brush if you prefer—add a thin layer of water around the outside edge of the circle.

seal
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Gently fold one side over the other to form a semicircle. Press the edges together to seal the filling inside.

corners 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Carefully bring the corners of the semicircle together—at this point, the tortellini will look a bit like a fortune cookie.

complete-tortellini
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tuck one corner behind the other and gently squeeze them together.

mushroom
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Add the sliced mushrooms to a pan with olive oil and sauté over medium heat until they start to soften, about 2 minutes.

everything-in-pan
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Add the tortellini, chili and a little water to the pan. Cook until the tortellini is al dente around the edges, 4-5 minutes.

pesto-bowl
Image used with permission by copyright holder

To serve, spread some of the pesto on the bottom of a bowl. Arrange the tortellini, chilies and mushrooms on top of the pesto. Serve with fresh parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

final dish 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Photo story by Max Schwartz

Amanda Gabriele
Amanda Gabriele is a food and travel writer at The Manual and the former senior editor at Supercall. She can’t live without…
Chenin Blanc is the summer white wine you’ve been waiting for
Chenin blanc wine guide
Chenin blanc wine

 

Chenin blanc has lurked in the shadows for some time. When it’s on the verge of a breakout, something else eclipses the trend, like funky orange wine a decade or so ago and chardonnay’s recent rebound.

Read more
Best Pit Boss Prime Day deals: Griddles, smokers, BBQ grills, more
The Pit Boss Navigator 5500 wood pellet grill cooks on a camping trip.

It's grilling time! At least, that's true if you have a grill. But if you need one, now's the time to shop! Prime Day deals galore mean you can get some sweet, sweet discounts on grills, flattops, and more. One of the more renowned brands in the grilling space is Pit Boss and you better believe there are some great Pit Boss Prime Day deals already available.  This trusted brand will help you cook for families that love barbecues and large gatherings that need a lot of food. There are a lot of Pit Boss Prime Day deals that are available, though, so if you need help deciding what to buy before the discounts expire, we've highlighted our favorite bargains below, as well as provided shopping advice on the Pit Boss grill deals that you should purchase for the shopping event.
Our top pick: Best Pit Boss grill Prime Day deal

Pit Boss Ultimate gas griddle --

Read more
Best Blackstone Prime Day deals
A man using the Blackstone 36-inch Gas Griddle Cooking Station in a yard.

If you're going to grill the steak of your dreams you're going to need the perfect grill, and Blackstone grills are offering up some savings among all of the Prime Day deals going on. We've made our selection for the best Prime Day Blackstone grill deal, and we've tracked down some other selections that offer some great savings. Read onward for a look at the best Prime Day Blackstone deals going on right now, and make a purchase quickly if you see something you like. Prime Day deals are known to end abruptly and inventories are likely starting to run low.
Best Blackstone grill Prime Day deal
Blackstone Adventure Ready 2-Burner 22-inch Propane Griddle -- $124, was $147

If you’re keen to cook outdoors more but you’re also planning on traveling a lot, you need the Blackstone Adventure Ready 2-Burner 22-inch Propane Griddle. It’ll work well in your yard, but it’s also portable enough that you can take it with you while you camp and travel on many different adventures, hence the name "adventure ready."

Read more