Pumpkin pasta  

Halloween has now passed but the remnants of beautifully carved pumpkins still scatter the autumn-coloured garden.  This autumnal delight does raise a somewhat childlike smile to my face. Small, medium and monster in size, to carve of course but, to eat in pasta or pies, most definitely be my ultimate teatime goal. I have as with many foods become a little obsessed with pumpkins and squashes in general for their versatility and colours, they seem to lend themselves so well to so many dishes. I have bought one to carve for each of my children and then a variety of different sized culinary pumpkins for myself to cook with and use for recipe development.

This pumpkin recipe is an absolute favourite of mine because it combines both the humble vegetable offering and my favourite Italian biscuits, my love affair with amaretti will continue, whether it be in a biscuit or liquid form. This combination is beyond heavenly and is a favourite dish of my friend Julie who fell in love with this sweet and savoury pasta dish whilst we were on a trip a few years ago in Italy. I believe her words were ‘I never want this meal to end’. Like everything in life, it must come to an end however here is my beautiful recipe for you to replicate at home.

A note: If your pumpkins are clean and damaged free after Halloween then I would most definitely use them to cook with and eat. If they are not, then break them up and leave them for wildlife to nibble on in your garden.

 

Preparation time: 1 hour 30 mins

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

Pasta

400g ready-made egg pasta dough

Filling

1kg pumpkin, de-seeded, peeled and cut into wedges

90g hard amaretti, crushed

150g Grana Padano, grated

100g mostarda di frutta, finely chopped in tiny pieces

Freshly grated nutmeg

1 small lemon, zest

Salt and pepper to season

Sauce

1 tbsp. olive oil

90g Butter, unsalted

70g Grana Padano, grated

30g hard amaretti, crushed (optional)

  1. Start by roasting the prepared pumpkin in a pre-heated oven (190C/Gas5) for 30 minutes until tender.
  2. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and push the pumpkin through a sieve and allow the smooth pulp to cool for an hour.
  3. Mix the pulp along with the crushed amaretti biscuits, Grana, mostarda di frutta, nutmeg, and lemon. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the mixture and set aside.
  5. Roll the dough out with either a rolling pin or using your pasta machine which should be sitting proudly on your kitchen surface.
  6. I normally roll the dough out into manageable portions using my pasta machine and form the dough into lasagne sheets.
  7. Place the lasagne sheets onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the lasagne sheets into squares measuring approximately 4cmx4cm square.
  8. Place a tsp amount of the mixture onto each square. Using a little water dampen the corners of dough and fold each square into a triangle, gently squeezing out any air and forming a perfect triangle.
  9. Hold the triangle with the point facing upwards, now join each of the two lower corners together forming a perfect or for me slightly wobbly tortello. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  10. Bring a large pan of water to boil, once boiling salt well. Cook the pasta for 4 minutes until aldente.
  11. Pour the oil into a frying pan and add the butter along with the sage leaves. Brown for 3 minutes.
  12. Drain the pasta and spoon into warmed bowls. Add a delicate drizzle of the browned butter.
  13. Add a final sprinkle of Grana, however I love to also add an additional amaretti crumble to finish the dish.