February 13th is honestly and truly; National Tortellini Day. This little round stuffed pasta (and tasty delight) was brought to us via Bologna, Italy.
I share this information with you a day early, just in case anyone out there wants to run out and purchase a pound or so, in celebration of the big day tomorrow.
There is actually a legend behind the popular pasta, albeit a creepy one. The story goes that Venus (Goddess of love for those who may not know) was for some reason or another visiting Northern Italy. Depending upon who is telling the story, she is either alone or with a companion, but all agree that she stayed overnight at a little inn.
The innkeeper at some point in the evening took it upon himself to peer through the keyhole of the goddess’s room and as it turns out, the only thing visible to the Peeping Tom was her belly button. Still, he became so enamored by the glorious sight; he was inspired to design a pasta in its likeness to pay homage to the Goddess.
Don’t believe me? Well every year the town of Castlefranco Emilia does a re-enactment of the tale to celebrate the pasta and the legend.
Here in the states, we have tortellini available either in the freezer section of our markets, fresh (or what is called fresh anyway) in the dairy aisle, or if you’re feeling all DYI about it, you can craft the stuffed noodle yourself – but it is a bit labor intensive. We like to use it in everything from, appetizers to main-dishes, to soups!
Trisha Yearwood, country singer and cookbook author, has said that according to her husband country superstar, Garth Brooks “everything’s better with tortellini in it!”
I suppose that it is only fitting that this special pasta, made to honor love, should be served on the eve of Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year!
So whether you have yours in a broth with a sprinkle of hard cheese (like they do in Italy), covered in your favorite sauce, or baked Parmesan style, I hope that you too find a way to celebrate the cheese stuffed dumpling with the nifty story behind it.
Until next time, happy Tortellini Day one-and-all!