La Belle Vie’s English Pea Tortelli with Blue Crab, Truffle & Mint

-written by Stephanie Meyer
-photographed by Susan Powers

La Belle Vie’s English Pea Tortelli with Blue Crab, Truffle & Mint

Can you believe that July is already half over? Here in Minnesota we all get so excited for summer to arrive that we pack it full of parties and events, which 1) makes everyone so busy that they hardly know their own names, and 2) makes time absolutely fly by. It’s awfully fun. And slightly crazy.

Which is why I’m going to lead off with a bit of a cheat for this gorgeous recipe. This dish is perfect summer dinner party fare, an elegant opener to a pretty meal on the patio. If you’re skilled at cranking out fresh pasta, that is absolutely the way to go. But if you’re feeling rushed, it’s OK to buy sheets of fresh pasta and continue on with an otherwise quick to pull together – and even better, do-ahead! – filling and finish.

The beauty of this dish is in the layers of flavor, particularly the rich, buttery crab brightened by mint. Try to keep your hands off the crab. Susan and I failed utterly. Yeah! It was a pretty buttery shoot, and it was fun.

Sauté the peas and onion.

More peas in the blender. We have been here before…

A beautiful bunch of fresh parsley.

Getting ready to make sweet music with the butter.

Do we have to melt it? Can’t we just rub it all over ourselves?

The crab meat we used.


Stephanie’s little short-cut.

These pasta sheets were thicker than freshly made so work better as a ravioli. Adjusting on the fly!

Piping the pea purée.

Ready for boiling.

English Pea Tortelli with Blue Crab, Truffle & Mint

Chef Tim McKee

Makes 8 first-course servings

Note: I purchased sheets of fresh pasta, which were rolled too thick to form tortellis. As a result, we shaped the dough into raviolis.

To work ahead: The pea puree, tortelli filling, and truffle butter can all be prepared one day ahead. Cover and chill. Proceed as directed.

For the pea puree:

2 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced small

1 1/2 lbs. frozen peas

1 1/2 c. water

2 sprigs of fresh mint

In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add peas and water. Simmer 3 minutes, then immediately transfer to a blender and add mint. Blend until smooth and strain through a sieve. Season to taste.

For the tortelli filling:

2 c. pea puree

5 sheets gelatin (or 1.5 envelopes powdered gelatin or 1.5 Tbsp.)

Measure out 2 cups of the pea puree and set the rest aside for sauce.  Bloom the gelatin in ice water until soft and squeeze out water. In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm 1/2 c. of pea puree with softened gelatin. Once the gelatin has melted whisk in the other 1 1/2 c. of puree. Chill until set, about 2 hours. When ready to fill the pasta, transfer filling to a piping bag (or a plastic bag with one small corner snipped away).

For the pasta:

1 pint lightly packed spinach leaves

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour plus extra flour for rolling

1 large egg

6 large egg yolks

1 Tbsp. milk

In a large saute pan, warm 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the spinach and gently wilt. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Place the spinach and one whole egg in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Add the eggs yolks, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and milk and whisk lightly.

Put the flour on a large cutting board, with a depression in the middle. Pour the egg yolk mixture onto the flour and knead for 5 minutes, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

For the truffle butter:

1 lb. unsalted butter, softened

1/3 bunch parsley, finely chopped

1/4 bunch chives, finely chopped

1/4 c. sliced summer truffles (note: the recipe is still delicious without these)

juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp. white truffle oil

Add all ingredients except the truffle oil and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the processer running add the truffle oil and lemon juice. Season butter to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the tortelli:

1 large egg, whisked with 2 tsp. of cold water

pasta dough

Roll the pasta dough to #1 on a well floured surface. Cut rounds out of the dough with a large cookie cutter (you will need 24 rounds). Brush one half of the rounds with egg wash.  Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the filling on each round.  Fold the dough in half and seal the edges. Bring the tips of the dough together to form the tortelli and seal. Repeat with all 24 rounds of dough.

To finish the dish:

1-1 lb. can jumbo lump blue crab meat

24 pea shoots

16 mint leaves

24 thin slices of preserved lemon

Warm the truffle butter in a large pan, and then add the crab meat. Warm the reserved pea puree in a small sauce pot. Boil the tortelli in a large pot of salted water for about 3-4 minutes and place in the waiting pan of warm truffle butter and crab meat.  Place a pool of the pea puree in the bottom of the bowls, add three tortelli to each and evenly distribute the crab.  Garnish the dish with pea shoots, mint leaves, and preserved lemon.


Anna July 25, 2011 at 1:18 am

Wow..very cool. I love how you show how to make the recipes. Also, the translations that Stephanie does are great.

Lisa N July 25, 2011 at 2:31 am

this looks lovely AND delicious 🙂

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