Recipes

Artichoke and White Truffle Tortelloni

Jennifer Jasinski

Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall, Rioja, and Stoic & Genuine, Denver

"This recipe for artichoke tortelloni uses every little piece of the artichoke, including leaves to make stock and it's one of the quintessential dishes at Rioja. Beautiful fresh pasta is paired with rich, earthy artichokes and local goat cheese mousse spiked with silky white truffle essence. Served in a delicate broth of artichokes and presented with two other preparations of the same esteemed thistle, this dish is a perfect picture of the balance and depth of flavor that makes Rioja’s food special. This has been on our menu since day one and always will be." —Jennifer Jasinski 

Ingredients

Artichokes:

  • 12 large, fresh artichokes (8 for artichoke and goat cheese mousse, 2 for braised artichoke hearts, 2 for crisp artichoke chips, and reserved leaves for artichoke broth)
  • 1 quart water
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Mousse:

  • 8 sliced artichoke bottoms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups cream
  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy or another high-quality goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil

Tortelloni:

Artichoke Broth:

  • Reserved artichoke leaves
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 5 cups water

Braised Artichoke Hearts:

  • 2 prepared artichoke hearts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup crisp white wine
  • 2 cups artichoke broth
  • Kosher salt and finely ground white pepper, to taste

Crisp Artichoke Chips:

  • About 1 quart canola oil, for frying
  • 2 prepared artichoke hearts
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Assembly and Plating:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) diced butter
  • Kosher salt and finely ground white pepper, to taste
  • White truffle oil, as needed
  • 1/4 pound Haystack Mountain queso de mano cheese or Idiazabal or Parmesan, shaved very thinly
  • Chervil sprigs to garnish

Method

Prepare the artichokes: to clean the artichokes, hold an artichoke in 1 hand and remove the tough outer leaves with a sharp paring knife. Cut away all of the green parts and scrape out the choke with a spoon. Reserve the soft inner leaves to make the artichoke broth. Trim the stem up to about 1/4-inch from the heart. 

Place the 12 prepped artichoke bottoms in a large bowl with the water and lemon juice. (Remember that when working with artichokes, you must always keep them in lemon water, as they oxidize rapidly.) Thinly slice 8 of the artichoke bottoms (for the mousse filling) into 1/8-inch slices and return them to the acidulated water until they are needed.

Make the artichoke and goat cheese mousse: in a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the 8 sliced artichoke bottoms. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes and then deglaze the pan with white wine, cooking until all the wine is reduced and the pan is dry. Add the cream and a pinch of salt and white pepper and cook over very low heat until the artichokes are tender and the cream is thick. (It's very important to cook slowly so the cream does not separate.) Place the mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth. Crumble the goat cheese on top of the artichoke mixture in the food processor, drizzle in the truffle oil, and process again. Taste the mixture and season it again with salt and white pepper, if needed. Place the mousse in a pastry bag and chill in the refrigerator until it's needed.  

Make the tortelloni: when you're ready to prepare the pasta, unwrap your dough and slice off a piece of the dough ball, rewrapping the unused dough until you are ready to sheet it. Feed the dough through your pasta machine, starting at the widest setting. (A pasta-rolling device such as the tabletop Gemini or the roller attachment for a stand mixer is ideal for sheeting the pasta.) Continue to feed it through the machine, gradually reducing the thickness setting until the dough is 1/16-inch thick. Your sheet should be approximately 5 inches wide and 12 inches long. Lay the sheeted dough onto a lightly semolina-floured work surface. Continue sheeting the dough, as it’s needed, to make 8 sheets. As you work, keep each sheet covered with a dry towel to prevent the dough from drying.

Have handy a round, fluted 3-inch cutter. Working with 1 sheet at a time, starting an inch from the edge, pipe a row of 2 tablespoon-sized mounds of artichoke and goat cheese mousse onto each of the dough sheets, leaving 1 1/2 inches in between the mounds. Brush the egg yolk wash around the filling and fold the pasta over. As you do, push air out of the folds and tighten the dough down around the filling. Place the round fluted cutter over the filling so that a three-quarter-moon shape is achieved and press firmly to cut (not all of the cutter comes in contact with the dough; the folded part of the pasta should be uncut and about three fourths as wide as the widest part of the tortelloni).

Gently pick up the pasta and bring the corners around the filling and then together, using a little yolk mixture to help secure the ends. With practice, this pasta should resemble a crown with a neat bulge in the middle. Place the finished tortelloni on a tray dusted with semolina flour (to prevent sticking). Place in the refrigerator until time to cook.

Make the artichoke broth: place the reserved artichoke leaves (soft yellow leaves only) and the rest of the broth ingredients in a saucepot and simmer over very low heat for 1 1/2 hours to extract flavor. Strain the broth through a fine chinois. The stock should smell and taste like artichokes and be a clear, deep golden color. Allow the broth to cool and set aside.

Make the braised artichoke hearts: just before cooking, cut 2 of the prepared artichoke hearts into 8 wedges each. Sauté the wedges in 1 tablespoon of the butter for 2 to 3 minutes and then deglaze the pan with white wine, reducing the liquid until the pan is nearly dry. Add 2 cups of the artichoke broth and bring this to a simmer. Cook until the artichokes are al dente. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and season with salt and finely ground white pepper. Keep warm while cooking the tortelloni.

Make the crisp artichoke hearts: in a deep pot, heat 3 inches of canola oil with 4 inches clearance (to prevent splattering) to 230°F. Working quickly, use a Japanese mandoline to slice 2 of the prepared artichoke hearts into discs about the thickness of a playing card. (Do not place them in water, as this will alter the frying process.) Transfer the slices directly into the preheated canola oil and fry them, turning them occasionally until the bubbles of water that rise around the edges of the artichoke chips stop forming. (At this point, most of the moisture is gone.) Watch the slices carefully, allowing them to turn light golden in color before removing them to a paper towel–lined plate. Season with salt immediately after removing from the hot oil.

To serve: in a 1 to 2 gallon pot large enough to accommodate 24 tortelloni, bring salted water to a boil. (If your pot is not large enough, plan on cooking them in batches to avoid overcrowding.)

Pour 6 cups of the artichoke broth in a separate large pot over low heat to warm it. Stir the butter into the warm broth, add the braised artichoke hearts and season with salt and pepper. Allow everything to warm at a low simmer.

Drop the tortelloni into the boiling water. Test a tortelloni for doneness by pinching the edges to see if the pasta is tender. (The best way to test doneness is to cook an extra tortelloni and taste it.) The pasta should be firm but cooked through. Remove the tortelloni from the pot and add them to the artichoke broth with the hearts. Simmer all of the tortelloni gently for 1 minute to allow the flavor of the broth to penetrate the pasta before plating.

Place 3 tortelloni in each bowl with 2 wedges of the braised hearts in the center. Drizzle 8 to 10 drops of white truffle oil into each bowl and pour about 1/2 cup of the broth around the bowl. Place 2 slices of the cheese atop the tortelloni. On top of the cheese, place 3 to 4 crisp artichoke chips and a tiny chervil sprig.

Yield

8 servings