I love Laver seaweed!! My lovely wife Rose does not. I am trying to convert her and recently tried this recipe out on one of our Coastal Foraging course in Staithes. It went down really well , it even got pronounced “best tortellini ever” by some. Unfortunately I am still trying to convince Rose.
The stuffing for the tortellini is inspired by a traditional South Wales laverbread breakfast, the sauce is a rich onion stock infused with fried pancetta.
Laverbread tortellini with a rich onion and bacon stock.
Serves 4 as a starter.
For the pasta
500g ’00’ pasta flour
5 large eggs
For the filling
1 Shallot finely chopped
large knob of butter
250g Cooked laverbread (simmered for several hours). Finely chopped
1 slice of brown toast, chopped
50ml Double cream
For the stock
3 Red onions sliced
1 sprig of Thyme
3 slices of Pancetta finely chopped. Plus 3 slices finely chopped for garnish.
First make the pasta. Put the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs. Mix well until the dough comes together. Take out of the bowl and knead well (10 mins) until smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate while you make the filling.
To make filling, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the shallot and cook gently until translucent but not brown. Put the toast, laver and cream into a food processor, add the fried shallot and any melted butter and pulse until smooth. If the mix looks dry, stir in an extra bit of cream so that the filling is moist. put into a bowl and chill until needed.
Now make the stock. Place a pan over a medium heat and pour in a glug of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions, Thyme and half the pancetta then cook gently until the onions are a deeply caramelised and brown.
Add the water cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Now check the seasoning and taste. You want a rich onion flavour and if it is not intense enough cook out a little more. Once you are happy with the taste pour through a sieve into a clean pan and reserve.
Take the pasta dough out of the fridge and roll it out very thinly, preferably with a pasta machine, but if not, as thin as you can with a rolling pin.
Cut the pasta into twenty 10cm squares and put a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of a square. Dip your finger in a little water and run it along two edges of a square. Fold the square into a triangle, pressing the top together and then working your way along the sides.
Pinch the bottom two corners of the triangle together to form a kerchief shape (see main picture). Press tightly to seal. Toss with flour, set aside on well-floured baking sheet, and cover. Repeat with remaining pasta squares.
Fry off the remaining pancetta pieces until brown and crispy. Warm the stock through over a low heat.
Cook the tortellini in a large pan of boiling for 2-3 minutes until they float at the top of the pan, then drain.
Divide the stock between 4 warm bowls, add the tortellini and sprinkle over the crispy pancetta and if you like some chive flowers.
Laver Porphyra sp.
Found at the upper end of the tidal zone, fixed to rocks in sheets. Harvest with scissors to allow the seaweed to regrow. By pulling the seaweed you may also pull off tiny bits of rock that will get into you cooked dishes!