One of my most favorite therapeutic meals to cook in the kitchen is homemade pasta, and today I’m cooking up my favorite homemade butternut squash tortellini!
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I can tell that a lot of people think I’m kind of nuts for spending the time making homemade pasta sometimes. I love to make homemade noodles like fettucini and lasagna noodles, but I especially love the methodical process of making ravioli. There is something so therapeutic about making the dough from scratch, rolling it out, and repeating the same steps to fill each ravioli. It’s not for everyone, but I find it very calming – it allows my brain to totally turn off and focus on what I’m doing in the moment.
And so today, I thought I’d try my hand at tortellini instead! I don’t know which I prefer to make now, because these are just so cute and dainty and fun to make! I decided to make a butternut squash tortellini and because I’m still wanting summer to stick around instead of turning into fall, I paired it with a bright and fresh arugula pesto. We can pretend, right?
Related Post: Lobster Ravioli with Beurre Blanc
So without any further ado, let’s jump into the step-by-step on how to make a tortellini!
1. Roll out your sheets of pasta dough and cut into roughly 3″ round circles.
Making homemade pasta became that much easier with the introduction of the pasta roller attachment from KitchenAid. By all means, crank away at a hand pasta roller like this one if you prefer, but I decided that sweating profusely and cooking don’t go hand-in-hand in my kitchen 😀 I like to roll my pasta out to the number 5 thickness on the KitchenAid attachment. Then I lightly flour my cutting board, place the sheets on it, and use a biscuit cutter to cut out 3″ round circles (I use this one – I love having a set of different sizes because I also use these to make my ravioli!).
2. Place half a teaspoon of filling in the center of each round.
I highly recommend using not more than half a teaspoon of filling when you’re making tortellini. When I’m making ravioli I will typically use more, even up to a tablespoon of filling, depending on the size of the ravioli. I like that “stuffed” ravioli look and flavor! But tortellini are different: if you overfill they become very difficult and near-impossible to fold. Stick to half a teaspoon max with this 3″ size circle and you’ll be good!
3. Fold each round into a half-moon shape.
Dab a bit of water on your finger and run it along the outer edge of half of the dough circle. Fold the other half over onto the first half, into a half-moon shape as seen above.
4. Now fold the top half of each half-moon back down on itself, like this:
Seal the ends well!
5. Lastly, pick up the tortellini off the board and roll the back of it around the tip of one of your fingers, sealing the ends together.
Now you’ll wrap the back edge of the folded tortellini around the tip of one of your fingers and press firmly to seal the ends together. Transfer to a flour-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
If you’re having trouble visualizing, I learned from this fantastic video by Laura in the Kitchen!
Must-Have Items for Pasta Making:
Homemade Butternut Squash Tortellini with Arugula Pesto
Yummy homemade butternut squash tortellini are paired with a fresh and creamy arugula and walnut pesto.
For butternut squash filling:
- 1 3- pound butternut squash halved with seeds scooped out
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
For tortellini dough:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups semolina flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons milk
- 1-2 tablespoons water
For arugula pesto:
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 3 ounces baby arugula
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
To prepare filling:
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil each butternut squash half with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season each half with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Place butternut squash halves (flesh side down) on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in heated oven for 1 hour, or until flesh is soft and a fork can easily pierce the flesh.
(Prepare tortellini dough as below while butternut squash is roasting.)
Remove butternut squash from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before scooping the flesh out and discarding the skins. Add butternut squash flesh to a food processor with 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse until well combined and smooth. Set aside until pasta dough is ready.
To prepare tortellini:
To a large stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and salt. Mix to combine. With mixer running on medium add 3 eggs, olive oil, and milk. Mix until the dough comes together into a rough ball. It may be necessary to add a little bit of water: put the 1-2 tablespoons of water into a small cup and add just a splash or two at a time. Wait 10-15 seconds and repeat if the dough still has not come together. (You will be able to tell when it is ready!) Turn out dough onto a smooth flour-covered surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Fill a small bowl with water.
When dough has rested, spread a bit of flour on a large cutting board or dough board (I use this marble dough board). Cut the dough ball into four or five large pieces and leave one pasta ball on your board, storing the rest under a kitchen towel to prevent drying. Use a pasta roller to roll out remaining pasta ball into a sheet (I like to roll mine to the #5 thickness on my KitchenAid pasta roller attachment). Use a 3″ round pastry cutter (biscuit cutter) to cut out as many circles from your dough as you can fit. Set aside the remaining dough under the kitchen towel as you can reuse this as long as it does not dry out too much.
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of filling to the center of each dough circle. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run along the outer edge of the dough circle. Fold half the pasta over the filing and seal, creating a half-moon shape. Fold the top round edges of the half-moon shape back on itself and twist the underside around your finger. (See post above for step-by-step photo instructions!) Set aside on a baking sheet covered in a bit of flour and repeat with remaining dough.
Add garlic cloves to food processor and pulse until finely minced, scraping down the sides of the bowl and necessary. Add baby arugula and walnuts and pulse until well chopped. With food processor running, stream in olive oil through the top hole until mixture is homogenous. Add parmesan cheese and greek yogurt and pulse just until combined. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook tortellini for about 2-3 minutes. Toss in a large bowl with a small splash of pasta water and some arugula pesto and serve with more fresh parmesan.
Tortellini can be frozen individually on baking sheets for about 1-2 hours, then remove and place in a plastic container or plastic freezer bag and return to freezer. I usually keep mine for up to 1-2 months (although they typically get eaten before that!).
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