The Story Behind the Dish: Spinach Tortellacci | Maggiano's Little Italy

The Chef’s Table

Created by the Chefs of Maggiano’s Little Italy

October 22, 2013

Every region of Italy is known for a different pasta filling. One of our favorite cities – Rome – is known for stuffing pasta with ricotta and spinach. Our chefs love this presentation of the traditional Roman stuffed pasta, topped with pesto, originating from the Liguria region of northern Italy on the Mediterranean coast.

The Story Behind the Dish: Spinach Tortellacci

Every dish has a story, and our Stuffed Pasta feature Spinach Tortellacci, has two different “origin” stories (as is often the case in Italian history). One is more exotic, while the other more practical. The first comes from an Italian epic mock-heroic poem published in the 1600s called “la secchia rapita,” or “the stolen bucket.” The poem is based on a real-life war between the cities of Modena and Bologna over the possession of a wooden bucket. According to the legend, Venus and Jupiter arrived at a tavern near Bologna one evening, tired from the battle between the cities.  The innkeeper peaked through the keyhole at the two and could only see Venus’s navel. Inspired, he rushed to create a  pasta – the tortellini – in its image.

The more practical story suggests that Italian mothers would close the tortellini to prevent filling from leaking into the broth while cooking. Either way, the tortellini is traditionally prepared around holidays with groups of old friends as they celebrate and socialize.

Dishes you’ll enjoy on our “Stuffed Pastas” menu now through December 4th:
Our new Stuffed Pastas come with an On The House Classic Pasta to take home.* Learn more about the dishes and receive an exclusive offer you won’t want to miss!

Fresh Burrata
Heirloom Tomatoes, Arugula, Olive Oil, Black Pepper

Burrata Ravioli
“The Earth’s Best Cheese”
Jumbo Half Moon Ravioli stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella Curd, Grana Padano Parmesan Broth, Heirloom Tomatoes, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

Spinach Tortellacci†
“A Roman Celebratory Dish”
Tomato Pesto Broth, Grana Padano Parmesan, Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Paccheri Amatriciana
(Pa-Ker-Ee Ah-Ma-Tree-She-Ana)
“The Garlic Smuggler”
Cannelloni filled with Cheese, Smoked Italian Ham, Tomato Ragu, Italian Sausage and Swiss Chard

Chicken & Mushroom Stuffed Shells
“Rigatoni ‘D’ in a Shell”
Jumbo Shells baked with Grana Padano Parmesan, Spinach, Sage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Marsala Cream Sauce

Pumpkin Cheesecake†
Gingersnap Crust, Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Pecan Praline Crust

We invite you to the warm atmosphere at Maggiano’s Little Italy for your next meal out or special occasion. We also invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, and watch us on YouTube for more recipes and ideas.  

†dish contains nuts    *available at participating restaurants subject to availability

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