For Filling: Bring a large saucepan of generously salted water to a boil.
Cut leaves from stems and center ribs of chard; rinse leaves (reserve stems and ribs to make a broth, or for another use). Add chard to boiling water; simmer until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then run under cold water to cool. Using your hands, squeeze out all excess liquid from greens, then finely chop (you should have about 1 cup greens).
In a bowl, stir together chard, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, salt and pepper. (Filling keeps, in an airtight container and refrigerated, for up to 1 day.)
For Pasta: On a clean work surface, mound flour and form a well in the center. Add eggs to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolks and slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed, then knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Begin using dough immediately, or cover completely with a clean dishtowel and let rest for a few minutes.
Divide pasta dough into four pieces. Cover 3 pieces with a clean dishtowel. Flatten dough so that it will fit through the rollers of a hand-cranked pasta machine. Set rollers of pasta machine at the widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine. Roll pasta through machine, decreasing the setting one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta), until pasta sheet is 1/8-inch-thick.
Lay pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface with the long side facing you. Starting from the left end of the dough, about 2 inches from short edge, put 1 level tablespoon filling onto dough. Continue putting dots of filling onto dough, each about 1 1/4 inches apart, until you reach end of pasta sheet. Fold dough over filling, lengthwise, then, using your fingers, gently but firmly press spaces around each mound to eliminate any air pockets. Using a pasta cutter, cut between mounds to form tortelli, then trim the unfolded edges.
Transfer tortelli to a dry baking sheet and cover with a clean dishtowel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling to create 40 tortelli. (Tortelli can be boiled immediately, or kept, each layer separated by and covered with a clean dishtowel, in refrigerator for up to 2 hours).
Heat oven to 200º. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; keep warm over very low heat.
When water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons fine sea salt. Add about 1/3 of the tortelli to the boiling water. Allow water to return to an active simmer (not a full boil), and cook until edges are tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortelli to a large serving bowl, or to individual bowls. Drizzle with 1/3 of the butter and cheese and put into oven to keep warm.
Repeat with remaining tortelli, butter and cheese. Once all tortelli are cooked, drizzle with 1 tablespoon pasta cooking liquid to moisten. Serve immediately.
Photo by Dave Yoder
Italian pasta artisans and home cooks alike often use “00” flour to make fresh pasta, especially in the region of Emilia-Romagna. Look for the specialty flour at Italian markets, specialty stores and online. Teitel Brothers
(800-850-7055) is a good mail-order option. If preferred, 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour can be substituted for the 2 1/4 cups “00” flour, with fine results.