What’s Burning: Smokey Tortelloni stuffed with Asparagus and Ricotta

Asparagus bundled | ©2005 Liz West
Asparagus bundled | ©2005 Liz West

I just took a gander at the calendar and realized that the month of June is on the downhill side.

The end of June, not mid or early, normally means the end of the asparagus season here in the Bel Paese, and I’ve got a “What’s Burning” dish, featuring this veggie, on the back burner that needs to be moved up to center stage, yesterday!

With the heat wave we’ve been having lately, it’s hard to find a grocery store or a mom-‘n’-pop shop around Vicenza with asparagus worthy of sale.

Tortellone stuffed with asparagus and ricotta | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAs the produce manager of my just-around-the-corner market told me today, “We’ve given up on asparagus. The last batch that arrived was limp and not up to our standards.”

I told her I only needed a few, just for photographing.

“Sorry,” she replied, “We’re fresh out of models.”

Oh well, I’ll just have to make do with what I have. And what I have will amaze you: plump, handmade tortelloni filled with asparagus and ricotta cheese.

Mozzarella di Bufala Affumicata | ©Tom Palladio ImagesThese babies were picked up the other day by my short-order cookin’, barista mixin’ alter ego, Lazy Person (LP), during a “milk run” over to Gastronomia il Ceppo.

Along with the “tortellini on steroids,” he tossed another mozzarella di bufala affumicato (smoked buffalo milk cheese) into the grocery tote, too.

We’ll merge the two and have this mouth-watering dish — paired with a “to die for” vino bianco (white wine) selected by Maria Giovanna, one of the on-duty sommelier at il Ceppo — plated right before your very eyes in about 7 min.

If you’ve got nothing better to do, grab an apron and let’s join LP in the kitchen. ANDIAMO!


Tortelloni stuffed with As[aragus recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Fill a medium size pot with water, cover and fire the heat to HIGH and let boil.

Sage and Butter in the Skillet | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-2: In a small skillet, add the butter and sage, fire the heat to MEDIUM to melt the butter and merge with the sage (2 min. max). Remove from heat, toss away the sage and wait for Step-5.

Step-3: Water is now boiling. Uncover, add the salt and drop the tortelloni down into the water. Let cook for 5 min.

Mozzarella cut into pieces | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-4: Cut the mozzarella into small pieces, place in the skillet, fire heat to LOW and allow the cheese to melt and merge with the aromatic butter (approx. 2 min.).

Tortelloni sautéing in the mozzarella and herbal butter

Step-5: Tortelloni are now finished cooking in the boiling water. Drain and place in the skillet with the mozzarella and butter. Fire heat to MEDIUM and sauté for 1 min.

Plated Tortelloni stuffed with Asparagus | ©Tom Palladio Images  Plated Tortelloni stuffed with Asparagus | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-6: Plate, sprinkle freshly ground black pepper on top (optional) and serve.



Recommended Wine Pairing: 2012 Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay IGTTenuta Sant’Antonio Vineyards – località San Briccio, Lavagno (VR) Italy

Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay bottle cover | ©Tom Palladio Images

Once in a while you’re pleasantly surprised by a wine that you’ve never tasted before. I had such a reaction after my first sip of Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay IGT. Maria Giovanna, one of the two resident sommelier at Gastronomia il Ceppo, selected this wine to pair with the tortelloni filled with asparagus and ricotta. And she was spot-on with her choice. It was absolutely delicious.

Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay | ©Tom Palladio Images

Under the sun of the Valpolicella wine district in the province of Verona pours forth this unique blend of Garganega (50%), Chardonnay (30%) and Trebbiano Soave (20%).

A pale straw-yellow with glints of green, Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay IGT opens up with an aroma of white acacia and jasmine. It’s bouquet is captivating with a mix of citrus — grapefruit, orange and pineapple — along with apple, pear, mango, and a soft touch of banana.

Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay | ©Tom Palladio Images

Well-balanced, soft and tangy, Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay IGT is both inviting and intriguing. It’s flavor is fresh and quite agreeable on the palate with a sustained acidity.

2 Sea Bass | ©Mark Masone  Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay | ©Tom Palladio Images

This surprising dry white is an excellent choice for a stand-alone aperitivo, but also marries well with appetizers of fish, vegetables and cold cuts and cheeses. It’s an excellent choice to pair with risotto, pastas in sauce, along with a variety of seafood — in broth, pan seared, or on the grill.


©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

TPT's Summer Borsalino_Panama white



      1. Will make these a.s.a.p. Our asparagus is coming to an end but still very good.
        Our strawberries are out and blueberries are just around the corner.

  1. Fab photos – it all looks wonderful. I wish we could get more varieties of Italian white here in France but its all a bit protectionist of the local produce

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