Recipe: Tortellini Cake

Beloved Italian pasta maker Giovanni Rana celebrates his 77th birthday on Oct. 15. Rana has been making pasta in Italy for more than 50 years. His ideal birthday cake is made not from cake but pasta. Serve this tortellini cake with a side salad and a glass of a fuller-bodied chardonnay to cut the richness.

1 22 oz. package Giovanni Rana Cheese ‘Delicato’ Tortellini
1/2 cup Giovanni Rana Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, divided
1/4 cup butter, plus extra for pan
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated fontina cheese, divided
1 egg
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup ricotta


Butter a springform pan and press 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano onto bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/4 cup butter and whisk in flour over medium-low heat. Once combined, gradually whisk in whole milk, and bring to simmer. Whisking frequently, continue to simmer until mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, and leave clean lines when wiped away. Remove from heat. Stir in fontina and remaining parmigiano reggiano, reserving 2 tablespoons of each. Whisk in egg, and then stir in marinara until desired pinkness and flavor.

In a large bowl, combine the refrigerated pasta and cheese sauce. Add parsley and mix to incorporate. Add half of the pasta mixture to the springform pan, and spoon on small dollops of ricotta. Top with remaining pasta, and remaining fontina and parmigiano reggiano. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese on top is golden. Let rest for 30 minutes and remove pan sides.