I’m assured by everyone I meet in the field of cooking that making your own pasta is easy (except Nigella Lawson, who insists that dried pasta is definitely the way to go). At a presentation by popular Italian chef Gino D’Acampo at Love Cooking in London last year, he told us it was simply a matter of using 100 grams (roughly 3½ ounces) of flour for every egg and a bit of olive oil, mixing it to the breadcrumb stage with a fork, and then kneading it a bit. Then you put it in the fridge for half an hour, and voilà, you can make your pasta. Perhaps if you are Gino D’Acampo…As for me, being less than co-ordinated with long bits of dough, I put off trying it, although I did fancy having a go. Luckily it wasn’t long until I got a chance to try.
This is another one of the dishes my son and I learned to make at the Italian Cooking Daywe attended at the Miele Experience Centre. I was not expecting to like it – I’ve only recently realised how delicious butternut squash itself is, and I really do not normally enjoy sage. It was, however, incredible – so incredible in fact that I did not even manage to snap a photograph of the finished dish – we were all taking turns eating it as we cooked!
The proportions of flour to egg that we were told to use at Miele were different from what Gina D’Acampo recommended, and olive oil really didn’t come into it. It turned out very well, so this is the recipe I use, but one day I will try it Gino’s way too!
250 grams (just under 9 ounces) Italian ’00’ pasta flour + a bit extra
900 grams squash, peeled and cubed
(roughly 2 lbs, one very large squash or two medium ones)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, very finely chopped
90 grams (roughly 3 ounces) vegetarian ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
25 grams (just under an ounce) vegetarian style Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
50 grams butter (roughly ¼ cup)
a handful of fresh sage, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
For the filling:
Place the squash in a roasting tin with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 190℃ (375℉) for 40 minutes.
Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is softened. Add the cooked squash and mash into the onion. Leave to cool.
When the squash and onion mixture is cool, add the ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan and nutmeg. Stir together thoroughly. Set aside.
For the pasta:
Place the flour on a smooth surface or in a very large bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the centre and add a large pinch of salt. Using a fork, work from the centre and beat the eggs, bringing in a small amount of flour at a time.
When the dough is soft enough to handle, knead using the heel of your hand, and keep dusting with flour until it is no longer sticky. This should take about ten minutes.
Cover the dough with cling film or Saran Wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Cut the dough in half, and take one half out to work with, leaving the other covered.
Using a pasta machine, work the dough at the widest setting about ten times, dusting regularly with flour.
Run the dough through the runners to the second smallest setting Do this gradually (about two runs through on each transitional setting). Dust with flour on both sides and lay on a dry surface. Cover with a tea towel. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
Now dollop teaspoons of the filling on one strip of pasta dough, about an two inches apart.
Place another piece of pasta dough on top of the filling topped dough, and pat pasta firmly into place round the filling to make the ravioli.
Cut the ravioli out using a round or square cookie cutter with a fluted edge.
Don’t try to re-use the off cuts of the dough. If you re-roll them they will be tough.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for about two minutes, or until it floats to the top of the pot. Serve with the Sage and Lemon Butter sauce.
For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the lemon juice and sage leaves and stir through. Allow to heat through and serve over the ravioli.
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