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Roasted Pumpkin Cappellacci with Crispy Sage Butter and Pancetta

Considering we eat pasta so often, it seems strange that we have never made it but I think part of the reason why is due to fear. Fear that it may be too hard or that I’ll just be plain rubbish at it. The other reason is because I think dried pasta can be so phenomenal, and all too often fresh pasta can be ‘gluggy’ or ‘cakey’, I suppose I didn’t feel the need.

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We got a pasta machine about 3 months ago…..we have taken it away with us….twice, like an unloved child! My boyfriend’s birthday was the occasion required to finally get this thing out its box and give it a whirl.

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I’m not sure if you’re familiar with ‘La Cucina di Sandra’ – cooking classes run in Melbourne, in Sandra’s pretty splendid home. Unlike any other class, at La Cucina di Sandra you are not required to do more than sit back, relax as Sandra prepares food, enjoy the 4 courses served up, watch, learn and really just enjoy the night. We liked the fact we could BYO, it was very informative and much like a dinner party with friends.

Here is her website and list of classes, but I believe bespoke classes can also be arranged.

http://www.lacucinadisandra.com.au/

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Anyway, I was lucky enough to jump on board and take the photos whilst getting the opportunity to learn from each class and try all the delicious food. My pasta dough recipe is from Sandra. In order to make this dough and filling, I would do in this order…start about 3 hours before intending to eat

  1. Turn on oven to heat 200°C
  2. Make pasta dough and as you put this in the fridge to rest, add your squash to the oven
  3. Remove squash after about 1 hour and let it cool slightly
  4. Make the filling and refrigerate
  5. Remove dough from fridge and follow instructions from here on……

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Ingredients for egg pasta dough (good for filled pasta) Serves 2 as a main and 4-6 as a starter

  • 250g of ‘00’ flour
  • 2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
  • Fine semolina or semolina di grano duro (durum wheat) for dusting
  • 1 tsp olive oil

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Method

Work on a wooden surface if at all possible

Sift flour and form a well.

Break the eggs into the centre of the well and add a tsp of fine sea salt

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Have both flours at hand for dusting and adding to dough, if needed

Use a fork to beat eggs lightly for 1 minute then slowly start bringing in the inner wall of the well, incorporating with the egg

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When eggs are no longer runny, but formed a creamy consistency, draw in the rest of the flour to allow you to knead the dough

If dough is still sticky, add a little more flour

Work on the dough until the flour and eggs are fully combined, this will take about 8-10 minutes of kneading

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour
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Once rested, take out dough and knead for a few minutes, divide into 4 and keep one part but wrap the rest back up separately in cling film or they will dry out very quickly.

Flatten your part and set the rollers to the widest opening (referred to as the ‘1’ pass)

Pass dough through this setting, each time folding in half (like a book), repeat this step about 6 times

Run the sheet through each number (going upwards) until you reach the desired thickness. This will ensure a good texture in the pasta

If the sheet becomes too long, you will need to cut into manageable portions as it needs to be guided in and out the roller.

For stuffed pasta, we normally stop at second to last pass, as too thin could incur breakage

Cut into whichever shape you fancy (details for this recipe below), stuff and seal. Cook in boiling water for 2-5 minutes, they will float to the surface when ready.

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Pumpkin and Parmesan Stuffing for Cappellacci

Ingredients Serves 2 as main or 4-6 as starter

  • Half a butternut pumpkin
  • 80g parmesan finely grated
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Good pinch of finely grated nutmeg
  • 125g cold, cubed butter
  • 1 handful of fresh sage leaves (and flowers for decoration, if you have them)
  • 1 lg egg, lightly beaten

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Method

Preheat oven to 200°C

Place pumpkin cut side up, on a baking tray, brush with olive oil and roast in the warm oven for 45minutes-1 hour

Cool slightly then spoon out flesh, discarding the skin and seeds

Place in a sieve over a bowl and let it drain for 1-2 hours

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Transfer flesh to a bowl with the parmesan, flour, nutmeg and season generously to taste. Mash to combine with a fork and leave in fridge until required

When your pasta dough is freshly rolled, cut into 10cm squares and place 1 tsp of mixture into the centre (keep on a lightly floured surface)

Brush around the edges with egg wash and fold in half diagonally, so you have triangles

Brush the 2 base points with a little egg wash, pressing together to seal well

Set aside on a lightly floured tray and dust with fine semolina

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Repeat until you have used up all your mixture

Cook in batches of boiling water until they float to the surface (about 3-5 minutes) Remove with a slotted spoon

Meanwhile, for sage butter, heat a saucepan over a high heat, add butter and cook until slightly foamy and nut brown (4-6 minutes)

Remove from heat, stir in sage leaves and spoon over the cappellacci

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and sage flowers
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