Tortelli Ragu with Jackfruit & Wonton Wrappers
This is an incredibly deceiving, incredibly delicious ragu pasta that shockingly doesn’t have traditional pasta or meat in it, even though it most definitely tastes like it does! The two hero ingredients and hacks in this dish are young green jackfruit and wonton skins!
Young Green Jackfruit is a great meat-free alternative. It doesn’t have any taste to it and absorbs any flavours that it is cooked in. it also has a texture similar to pulled meat, making it perfect to add into a slow cooked or sauce based recipe, so think curries, stews, pastas, tacos. You simply cook it in a sauce and once soft and tender, use forks to shred it into fine pieces just like a pulled meat.
Wonton skins funnily enough are similar in colour, texture and taste to pasta, but since they come pre rolled in squares, they are perfect to roll into stuffed pasta shapes, a little hack I actually learnt off my mum. I figured most people may not have the time or equipment to make fresh pasta, so this is a great and quicker way to try making stuffed pasta at home.
The inspiration for this dish is Tordelli Lucchese, a Tuscan pasta dish that comes from the town of Lucca where a bright yellow egg pasta called Tortelli is filled with meat, cheese and breadcrumbs and then cooked in a meat ragu.
The flavour comes from the sofrito, which you make at the beginning which becomes the base for both the tortelli filling and the ragu sauce. The addition of cheese also helps create that ‘umami’ flavour and whilst you’re at it, throw in some soy sauce which adds a greater depth of flavour than normal salt. Sounds weird but it works, so just trust me on this one.
It’s a hearty and wholesome meat-free meal that is also deceptively easy and tastes unbelievable. I dare you to try it on your family and friends, they won’t believe it doesn’t have traditional meat or pasta in it!
Makes- 25 tortelli
Cooking Time- 1 hour
Skill Level- Easy
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 1 small bunch of sage, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of rosemary, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 cans of SPC Young Green Jackfruit
- 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoon of soy sauce, optional
- 1 small bunch of basil
- ½ cup of milk
- 2 slices of stale bread
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 80g (1 cup) of your choice of cheese. finely grated plus extra to top the pasta. Grana padano, parmigiano reggiano and pecorino work best.
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour
- Heat a large pan with oil and add 2 finely chopped onions, 1 finely chopped carrot, 1 stick of finely chopped celery and 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic and cook on medium, stirring frequently. Then add 1 small bunch of thyme, 1 small bunch of finely chopped sage and rosemary and continue to cook on medium for 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. This is called a ‘sofrito’ which is the base of many Italian dishes to create flavour.
- Meanwhile, drain and thoroughly rinse 2 cans of jackfruit with water. Make sure to squeeze as much of the water from the fruit as possible.
- Transfer half of the sofrito into a bowl. You’ll use for this for the pasta sauce later.
- Now add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and fry off until the paste coats all of the sofrito and turns a darker red in colour.
- Add in half of the jackfruit and continue to cook on medium for 10 minutes until soft and golden. Transfer to a bowl and using two fork, pull the jackfruit so all of the flesh is thinly shredded. This will soon become the tortelli filling.
- Whilst the tortelli mixture is cooling down, begin cooking your ragu.
- Add the reserved sofrito back into the same pan with oil. Then add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and fry off until golden and dark red.
- Then add two cans of crushed tomato and the remaining jackfruit.
- Then add in a few basil stalks, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, ½ cup of milk and also if you have some leftover cheese rinds from your cheese, add them to the sauce as they add heaps of flavour.
- Cover with a lid, turn down to low to simmer for the next 40 minutes whilst you prepare the tortelli
- For the filling, soak your 2 slices of stale bread into a bowl with 2 cups of vegetable stock for one minute and then squeeze out the water before adding to the bowl with the jackfruit mixture. For the leftover vegetable stock, add it to your ragu to simmer.
- Then add in 60gm of your choice of cheese. A half and half mixture of grana padano and pecorino works really well for this dish but feel free to stick to just one or add more.
- Crack in two eggs and begin combining with a fork until you get a smooth but slightly wet filling. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Now separate a few of your wonton skins from the packet.
- Take one of the skins and spoon half a tablespoon of the mixture into the centre of the skin. Mix a quick mixture of cornflour and water and dipping your fingers into it, trace around the perimeter of the wonton skin. This helps seal the ends of the pasta together.
- Now fold over in half to create a rectangle shape and pinch in using your fingers to seal the ends. Then take the ends and pinch them together so you get a round tortelli. Place onto a tray and continue until you have used up all of the filling. This batch should make approximately 25 tortelli.
- Start boiling a pot of generously salted water for the tortelli to cook in.
- Meanwhile, check in with your ragu. The jackfruit should be soft, the sauce an orangey red colour and the cheese rinds should have mostly melted with soft pieces left in the pan.
- Remove the bay leaves, the basil stalks and cheese rinds from the pan and then using two forks shred the jackfruit into thin strands.
- Once the water starts boiling, add in your tortelli and cook for 3 minutes or until they start rising to the top.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the tortelli and place into the ragu sauce. Mix to combine and allow the tortelli to soak up some of the ragu.
- If your sauce feels a bit too thick, add a few ladles of the pasta water to thin it out.
- After 1 minute, spoon the tortelli with some of the ragu onto a plate and top with extra cheese and fresh bail leaves.
Can you cook this recipe with meat instead?
Yes! The traditional Italian recipe uses meat and is mainly a mix of beef and pork mince, it's essentially a Bolognese sauce. Feel free to use beef mince, pork or even both!
Can you use bead crumbs instead of stale wet bread?
Yes you could use store bought bread crumbs but they are essentially just stale bread minced up together turned into crumbs. I figured it would be good to highlight how to traditionally and easily make this and also thought most people will have some leftover stale bread lying around because I certainly did!
Why did you use wonton wrappers vs fresh pasta?
If you have or want to make this with fresh pasta sheets go for it!
Using wonton wrappers as a stuffed pasta dough is a trick my mum showed me which I thought would be an interesting way to show you how you can make fresh tortelli faster than making it from scratch and without needing all of the pasta equipment and machines, as i appreciate not everyone has the time or equipment. They are also already pre-cut into squares which makes it easiest to just start rolling.
Any changes when using pasta dough?
No changes in the cooking process, but if you are using pasta dough you have the limitless options of cutting your pasta into different shapes (square vs round) and fold your pasta into any pasta type you like from ravioli, agnolotti, tortelli...the sky is the limit!
If you're gluten free, what else would you recommend instead of wonton skin wrappers?
I would use fresh gluten free pasta sheets and cut them into squares. Then depending on your intolerance, you could use sourdough or GF breadcrumbs for the filling.
What does Jackfruit taste like?
Young green jackfruit doesn't really taste like anything, like most young and unripe fruits. But this is why it makes a great meat alternative as it's able to soak up any flavours that it is cooked in and becomes super flavourful. The texture once you slow cook it and shred it resembles a shredded or pulled meat.
It's funny because I love fresh jackfruit and it's one of my favourite Asian fruits to eat on its own. I was actually obsessed with it as a kid, but never realised you could cook with young green jackfruit as a meat alternative until very recently and surprised how similar it tastes in texture to meat.
Would this freeze okay?
Absolutely! Freeze the sauce separately and the tortelli raw on its own just like you would dumplings. Then when you want to eat them, defrost and do the final steps of boiling the tortelli and adding to the sauce before serving.