Down the Rabbit Hole

Black Garlic Tortellini with Parmesan Foam:

Dining often is about the experience, and the intensity of that experience especially when it sits squarely on the plate in front of you, is what can matter most. In the process of deciding plating options for this tortellini recipe, I stumbled into yet another realm of culinary arts. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, the wondrous and bizarre arena of molecular cookery is science slamming into art at slow motion. For those unfamiliar, molecularly gastronomy injects physics and chemistry to transform the science of cooking to a heightened innovative level. Just talking about it brings a whole new level of wonderland fun – emulsification; spherification; suspension; gelification; powdering; siphon whipping. For this recipe, I landed with a simple (yes, simple), parmesan foam which falls into the emulsification category. These tortellini by themselves are magnificent and unique with a creamy ricotta filling and rich flavor from the black garlic. Yes, I cheated the pasta making step with Asian wrappers, not by accident but just shear experimentation, and the end result works well. As I sip my tea and flip the pages on my new molecular gastronomy book, I recall Alice and remember – there’s no going back to yesterday; you are not the same person you were then. Now I can’t stop and must experiment with spherification in the next chapter of my culinary escapades.

SECRET INGREDIENT:  Black Garlic

TIP: Don’t over-stuff the tortellini (even though you will want to)

Black Garlic Tortellini with Parmesan Foam

For Tortellini

  • Ricotta (1 cup)
  • Black Garlic (2 Tbl)
  • Parmesan Reggiano (1/2 cup, grated)
  • Fresh Basil leaves (2 Tbl, chopped)
  • Lemon zest (1/2 tsp)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • Wonton wrappers (alternative to pasta dough)
  1. Mix all ingredients, except wrappers, in a medium bowl until well blended and smooth.
  2. Fill a small bowl with water. Working with one wrapper, wet edges of wrapper with fingers and place small spoonful of filling in center of wrapper (do not overfill). Carefully fold wrapper squarely and pinch edges firmly on all sides. Fold ends, and with wet fingers, crimp and seal together. Place tortellini on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

For Foam

  • Parmesan Reggiano (1 2/3 cup)
  • Water (1 1/4 cups)
  • Soy Lecithin (0.7 oz packet)
  1. In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients.
  2. Using an immersion blender, mix until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a sauce pan, and bring to a boil while continuously stirring.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl. (discard parmesan paste from bottom of pan)
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend again to create foam. Spoon foam from surface and transfer to separate bowl. (extra can also be frozen and used as a garnish)

For Garnish

  • Cherry Tomato (minced)
  • Kalamata Olive (minced)
  • Micro Greens

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