Thomas Keller’s recipe for pasta dough (from his important 1999 cookbook, The French Laundry) is the first pasta recipe I ever learned and the only one I’ve used since then. The only alteration I’ve made is to use canola oil instead of olive oil — because it’s from the Canadian Prairies. Of course, the turkey tortellini filling and the wild rice are my own Indigenous spins. And since tortellini is so late-1990s, I just had to go with a rich cream sauce!
Turkey Tortellini With Creamed Wild Rice
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
1 ½ tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp milk (2% or 3.25%)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup diced onion
6 oz / 170 g ground turkey
6 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1 large egg
¼ cup whipping (35%) cream
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 ½ cups water
½ cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
½ cup whipping (35%) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving
1. Make the pasta dough: on a clean, non-porous surface or a large wooden cutting board, shape the flour into a mound with a 6-inch crater in the centre. Put the egg and yolks, oil and milk in the centre. Using your fingers, break the yolks and start to swirl the wet ingredients with your fingers, but don’t let the inside of the crater break through the flour sides. As you continue to swirl, the flour will very slowly incorporate into the eggs. Be patient and keep swirling. You can start to use your other hand to shore up the sides and move some of the flour into the egg mixture. As the mixture thickens, the dough will start to become shaggy. Once you can’t swirl any more flour in this way, use a pastry scraper to start to fold the flour into the dough and knead it with the heels of your hands. Keep kneading and incorporating as much flour and parts that have broken off into the main dough ball. This will take a good 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will eventually start to soften and become smooth and elastic. Keep kneading for another 10 minutes. You can’t overdo the kneading.
2. Form a tight dough ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour. (You can make the dough the day before and keep it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Bring it back to room temperature before you roll it out).
3. Make the filling: heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sautee until they start to turn brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until it’s cooked through and becomes crumbly in texture, about 5 minutes. Add the minced sage leaves and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg and the cream and cook just until the filling comes together, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
4. Make the rice: meanwhile, combine the water, a pinch of salt and rice in a pot. Stir well, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until most of the rice kernels have opened fully, showing the white inside. Drain well, cover and set aside.
5. Make the tortellini: divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour a clean work surface or a cutting board. Set your pasta roller to the thickest setting. Flatten a portion of dough into a disc (keep the rest of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out) and send it through the pasta roller. Repeat, rolling and gradually reducing the setting on the pasta roller to its thinnest setting, until you get the pasta sheet as thin as you can. Place the pasta sheet on a floured surface, cover with a cloth, and repeat with the remaining dough portions.
6. Cut each pasta sheet into 2-inch squares. Place 1 tsp of turkey filling in the centre of each square. With slightly wetted fingers, bring two opposite corners of each filled square together to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal the tortellini. Then bring two points of the triangle together and press to seal (it should now resemble a tortellini). One point will remain. Repeat with the remaining squares.
7. Fill a large soup pot with 8 to 12 cups of water and salt it generously (about a Tbsp). Bring to a rolling boil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, drop in the tortellini and cook for about 4 minutes, just until the dough is fluffy and cooked all the way through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and cover. Set aside and keep warm. If the pasta starts to stick together, gently toss it in a drizzle of oil.
8. Assemble the dish: in a large skillet over medium heat, combine the cooked wild rice and the cream. Cook for about 3 minutes, just to warm through. Add the cooked tortellini and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with grated Parmesan (if using).
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