Basil tortellini with ricotta and pine nuts

Basil tortellini with ricotta and pine nuts

Home Comforts
Yuki Sigura

Adding the basil leaves to the pasta gives it some colour. Try making your own pasta as it’s simple, plus you will probably have a pasta machine gathering dust in the cupboard anyway. You can fill the pasta with whatever cheese you wish, but nothing too strong as the basil flavour needs to come through.


Quantity Ingredient

For the pasta

Quantity Ingredient
200g ‘00’ pasta flour, plus more to dust
2 eggs, lightly beaten
12 large basil leaves
20 small basil leaves, plus more to serve
225g buffalo ricotta, or cow’s milk ricotta
60g toasted pine nuts, to serve
grated parmesan, to serve

For the pesto

Quantity Ingredient
50g basil leaves
10g toasted pine nuts
25g parmesan, grated
1 garlic clove, bashed
25ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the flour and eggs into a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms small crumbs. Tip it out on to a work surface and squish into a ball, then knead for a few minutes until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Place the basil, pine nuts, parmesan and garlic into a mortar and pestle and bash until deep green and broken down, then gradually add both the oils, pounding all the time. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Lightly flour the business end of a pasta machine. Cut the pasta into three and flatten out about 1cm thick. Starting at the lowest (thickest) setting, feed a piece of dough through the machine, turning the handle with one hand and holding the dough as it comes through with the other.
  4. Change the setting on the pasta machine to the next-thickest setting, flour it again and feed the pasta sheet through the machine again, as before.
  5. Repeat this process three or four more times, flouring the machine and changing the setting down each time, until the last-but-one setting. It helps to cut the pasta into smaller pieces during this process, as this will mean it is less likely to dry out; you should end up with about six sheets. (Any pasta you are not working on should be covered with cling film.) Take one long sheet and place two of the large basil leaves on to the bottom half of it, then fold the other half over to cover and pass back through the pasta machine on its finest setting; you should get two elongated basil leaves running through it. Repeat with the remaining pasta and large basil leaves.
  6. Cut the pasta into 9cm discs with a pasta cutter or cookie cutter.
  7. Place a small spoonful of ricotta on to a small basil leaf, then place this in the centre of each disc. Brush around the edges with a little water. Fold the top over to seal the basil-wrapped ricotta inside. Twist each corner towards the centre to meet and form a ring and press together, then set aside. You need five pieces per portion and you should make 20 pieces from this mixture.
  8. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, drop the tortellini in and cook for three or four minutes or until they float to the surface, drain and return to the pan. Add the pesto and toss to coat and finish cooking the pasta through, then toss in the pine nuts to serve.
  9. Serve immediately with a generous grating of parmesan and a few small basil leaves.


  • Filled tortellini freezes well. Use any leftover pasta to roll out again and make into tagliatelle.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
comfort food
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