Among the typical stuffed pasta of the Bolognese land, the tortellone is traditionally distinguished from the tortellino both for the dimensions, since the suffix "-one" means big, and for the "vegetarian" filling.
Far from being actually a vegetarian idea, the tortellone was prepared without meat of any sort because it was served on the day before important religious celebrations, such as Christmas or Easter. The precept in this case was to fast, or at least to "mangiar di magro" (lean eating), avoiding meat and sophisticated food.
We have knowledge of the "tortello" since medieval times, which recipe included a filling of ricotta or lattarolo cheese, both being soft cheeses to be mixed with grated hard cheese and eggs, possibly parsley or chard.
As happens for every type of stuffed pasta, the search for the perfect balance between pasta and filling influences the shape and the size. The "tortellino" is small because its filling is so rich and savoury that it only takes a small amount to flavour the dish. Differently, the "tortellone" requires a bigger amount of filling to be fully tasted.
In the Bolognese Plain there are four food festivals dedicated to the Tortellone: in Ozzano dell'Emilia around the half of July, in Zola Predosa over August and September, in Sala Bolognese in the middle of May and in Crevalcore.
from "La Mercanzia Storie di tortellini, tagliatelle e..." - Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Bologna.
Last update: 10-07-2019