Dinner Dish: Lucca Tuscany Cooking Vacation – Tortelli Lucchesi

Pasta stuffed with meat made on a Tuscany cooking vacation.

As a region known for its cities and countryside, Tuscany is rich in gastronomy traditions, which you can discover in the city of Lucca on our Tuscany cooking vacation. One of the most well-known dishes in Lucca is tortelli lucchesi (or known locally as “tordelli lucchesi”), which is a bright yellow pasta made with wheat flour and eggs.

You can make this dish, among other gastronomic specialties, during our Tuscany cooking vacation Luxury Lucca Villa Cooking.

Simply put, tortelli lucchesi are meat ravioli. But to those that have made Lucca their home, the dish is so much more. Traditionally stuffed with a mixture of meat — such as beef and pork — and smothered in a delicious meat ragu, this primo piatto (pasta course) is unique in that the pasta is made with eggs, while many other pastas in Tuscany are not. Egg-based pastas are more common in wealthier regions, which are mostly in the north of Italy.

A story in the New York Times attributed the rich egg pasta to Lucca’s wealth from the banking and silk trades. The result is a town that has a culinary tradition that include a greater abundance of “rich” ingredients like meat and eggs.

Tuscany cooking vacation pasta cooking class

How do you make tortelli lucchesi? Read on!

Tortelli Lucchesi

Serves: 6
Prep time: 120 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Cook method: Boil

Ingredients for the pasta:

  • 500 gr flour
  • 5 eggs

Ingredients for the filling:

  • Ground pork – 150 g
  • Ground veal – 150 g
  • Finely diced Mortadella – 50 g
  • 2 eggs
  • Broth – 150 ml
  • 2 slices bread
  • Parmigiano cheese – 50 g
  • Pecorino cheese – 30 g
  • Ground nutmeg – 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh thyme – 1 sprig
  • Chopped parsley – 2 Tbsp
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and papper, to taste

Close up of pasta made on a cooking vacation in ItalyInstructions:

1. To make the filling: lightly cook the meat in the olive oil with the sprig of thyme. Make sure to break the meat up into small pieces. Drain, discard the thyme, and set aside to cool.

2. Soak the bread for 10 minutes in the broth, then break it up and add it to the meat.

3. Add 2 eggs, both cheeses, the diced mortadella, nutmeg, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Mix thoroughly, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

5. Make the dough as you would for any other stuffed pasta, such as for tortelli alla mantovana.

6. Assemble the tortelli and boil for a few minutes in a large pot of salted water. (The tortelli can be formed in squares, circles, or half-circles.)

A Tuscan vineyard on a food and wine tour of Italy7. Serve it with a classic Bolognese meat sauce. and a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano or pecorino cheese.

Other popular dishes in Lucca, which you can make in on our Tuscany cooking vacation, include salt cod, farro soup, buccelloto (a dessert), torta con i becchi (an Easter cake), and and a number of others.

During Luxury Lucca Villa Cooking, cook with a chef in a private villa through multiple cookery courses, and experience other Lucca gastronomic traditions.

Try other great pasta recipes from TIK, including Pappardelle Pasta with Mushrooms and Sage.

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By Liz Hall

“Dinner dish” is a blog series, in which The International Kitchen discusses recipes and the history of particular regional foods. Have a food you want to learn more about? Contact us today.

Other dinner dish blog posts
Greece: Hare Stifado
Italy (Sicily): Marsala Wine
Italy (Veneto): Risotto
Greece: Ladolemono Sauce
Spain: Paella
Italy: Meatballs
Italy (Puglia): Ran-Away Fish Soup

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