Some people find pasta making a chore, but it's like meditation to me. Mopping the floor is a chore, and there's no delicious payoff at the end of it, unless you eat your dinner off it, of course.
Tortelli Piacentini Stuffed with Roasted Pumpkin and Almonds and Dressed with Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Leaves
For the Dough:
400g "00" flour
For the Filling:
500g pumpkin (I used Kent) unpeeled and cut into thick wedges
Olive oil for greasing
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
20g ground almonds
25g fresh breadcrumbs
50g parmesan, finely grated
For the Dressing:
12 sage leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Parmesan, for shaving
Make the Dough:
Put the flour and eggs into a food processor and blitz until it starts to clump. Turn it out onto a bench and bring it together with your hands. If the dough it crumbly, add a little water. If it's sticky, add a little extra flour. The dough shouldn't stick to your hands or work surface. Wrap it plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Make the Filling:
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease a large baking tray and lay the pumpkin wedges on it. Sprinkle with a little extra oil and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool completely.
Once cold, put the pumpkin (skin on), mustard powder, savoiardi, almonds, breadcrumbs and parmesan into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg.
Spoon the filling into a large piping bag (I use a large zip lock back) and cut a 1cm hole in the tip. Put it in the refrigerator until needed.
Make the Tortelli:
Divide the dough into 4 portions. Work with one protion at a time, keeping the rest of the dough covered to prevent it from drying out, and flatten the portion out with a rolling pin. Feed the dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine 3 times, folding it into three each time. This processes stretches the gluten in the dough and makes it easier to roll. Then feed the dough through the next, thinner, setting and continue to do this until it goes through the last and thinnest setting. You will have a long, thin sheet of pasta. Flour a work bench and cut the dough into 7.5cm rounds using a cookie cutter.
Pipe a small strip of filling down the centre of each disc of dough, leaving enough room at each end so that the dough covers the filling when folded.
I could try to describe how to fold the pasta, but I found it easier when I was a beginner to watch an expert do it so I used this YouTube video and practiced. It's actually pretty easy once you get a rhythm going.
Lay the pasta on a couple of flour dusted baking trays and repeat with the remaining portions.
Make the Dressing:
Put a large skillet onto a medium-high heat and add the butter. Cook the butter until it starts to turn brown and smell nutty. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp. Remove the sage and set them on a piece of kitchen towel. Turn the heat down and keep the brown butter warm.
Cook the Pasta:
Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add a good handful of salt and cook the pasta about 3 minutes or until cooked. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water and tip them into the brown butter with a little of the pasta cooking water. Turn the heat up and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Shake the pan to emulsify the dressing, adding more pasta cooking water if needed to make a light sauce and remove from the heat. Sprinkle with crispy sage leaves and parmesan shavings.