Such a tasty dish, I made this up on the fly looking for something yummy, a little bit indulgent and suitable for the winter weather. For some reason, homemade pasta, just gets processed so well by my body (if you know what I mean). Since I have no regulatory controls when it comes to pasta (I blame my Italian heritage) it’s very easy for me to over-eat it. But the homemade stuff doesn’t bloat me and doesn’t sit like a big ball of gluten in my gut afterwards.
To my vegan friends; I’m sorry, but egg pasta is the only way to go. Free-range of course. Lately I’ve been enjoying eggs from Green Eggs that I buy from the Italian bakery up the road in Lygon Street upper, Sugar Dough (while you’re there grab yourself a creme brulee tart. Better than heaven!).
Basic pasta recipe
I’ve had a ton of practice making pasta for Pizzini Wines that I kind of go off feel with pasta now (yeah yeah I’m a show off). But here’s a rough guide for you:
1 c. durum or semolina flour (Katrina Pizzini taught me to use durum wheat, but I can’t find it so I always use semolina flour which is a little coarser and I think is more commonly used for pastas). Both are stronger than regular flour but a softer, finer granule than say polenta or gritts.
1 tsp salt
1 Tbls olive oil
2 x whole eggs
- In a bowl, place the flour and create a well in the middle. Crack in your eggs, adding the salt and oil
- Using a wooden spoon, mix together until a dough forms
- Turn out onto a floured surface (regular flour is ok here) and knead. If it’s too wet add more flour, if too dry try adding a couple of drops of water. You are looking for a moist dough that’s not sticky, but you don’t want it so dry it cracks. Ok?
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hr
Butternut or jap pumpkin cut into 1″ squares (roughly) tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper then roasted for approx 30 mins at 180C. Allow to cool and mush in with the ricotta.
150g good quality ricotta cheese
Burnt Butter and Sage sauce
Over low heat, melt about 150 – 200 g organic butter in a pan, add in fresh leaves of sage and let brown for about 5 – 8 minutes…maybe more. You don’t want too much colour, and just enough heat so the sage leaves get all crispy. Season with salt if it needs it.
Steam the trimmed broccolini for approx 4 minutes until al-dente. Refresh under cold water to stop the cooking process and to keep the colour. Set asside.
Peel 4 cloves of garlic and finely slice. Poach in water (traditionally it’s milk, but do as you please) until tender. Bring olive oil to frying temp but not smoking and once hot enough gently fry the garlic chips until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel until ready.
- Roll out dough in portions. A pasta machine is more efficient, but if you don’t have one, I hope you’re arm muscles are in good working order! For this recipe, I go up to number 6 on my machine (1 being the thickest and 9 being the thinnest). You want a delicate texture, not too thick, but not so thin it makes it impossible to stuff and fold. Remember that the cooking process will expand the dough and make it thicker.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut circles approximately 5cm in diameter
- Spoon on approx 1 tsp of filling and fold circles in half to form a semi circle
- With your index and middle finger grip the semicircle, kind of pinching the widest part down so that you can fold the two end flaps together. There’s a couple of different ways to do this, but I learnt this way recently while interning at New York’s Rouge Tomate
- So back to the pinching; just lightly grip it between your fingers as described, lightly wet the ends with water (some people use an egg wash, but I find water works fine) and fold the two ends to meet and press together. Lay the tortellini on a lightly floured tray while you make the rest
- While you’re folding, bring a big pot of salted water to the boil. Once the tortellini are completed and water is boiled, drop in water and bring back to a gentle simmer. I find lightly poaching home made pasta works best while gently moving the pasta. Depending on the thickness it can take up to 5 minutes to cook. Do note that fresh pasta cooks much, much quicker and you don’t want to overcook it either, you still want a bite to the structure of the pasta.
- Have your sauce and steamed broccolini ready to go while you’re cooking the pasta. Keep the sauce heated and quickly warm up the broccolini in a seperate pan (put in a hot pan and move around for 30 seconds to warm through but not cook).
- Once tortellini is cooked spoon onto pre-warmed plates, add a spash of sauce, place broccolini on top and spoon over more sauce, making sure there’s plenty of sage leaves on each serving. Sprinkle with garlic chips.