ravioli with a sweet and spicy squash filling
Tortelli Mantovani filling
500 g Mantuan squash [kabocha squash], baked
hot red pepper, dried powder or finely chopped fresh [or 50 g mostarda / Manutan spicy candied fruit]
50 g amaretti almond cookies, crushed
100 g grated parmigiano cheese
bread crumbs if necessary
3 eggs of pasta, see below .. or rice, also see below
Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake cut-side down on top of a bay leaf on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil, for about 30 - 40 minutes at 180C/350F.
When the squash is soft to the touch remove from oven and let it cool. Remove the peel from the flesh and use a fork to make a paste of the flesh.
Mix the squash with the finely chopped hot pepper, finely smashed cookies and the other ingredients. If it is too thick add some lemon juice, if it is runny add more cheese and cookie crumbs.
To form the tortelli lay a sheet of pasta dough (recipe below) on the work surface, place a small spoonful of filling every few inches, with a pastry brush paint exposed dough with water, cover with another sheet of dough and press to seal working to avoid air bubbles. Cut the ravioli into squares using a rotary blade or a knife.
Boil in salted water just a few minutes, they are done when they float. Carefully remove from the water and pass the tortelli through a sauté pan warmed with extra virgin olive oil and sage. Serve topped with some of the sage flavored oil from the pan and grated parmigiano cheese.
Or make a Deconstructed Version with Rice
ingredients as above with
rice instead of the pasta
and some added bacon, prosciutto or guanciale
Bake the squash as above. Fry some bacon, prosciutto or guanciale in a frying pan, remove it to a paper towel to drain. In the pan where you cooked the bacon add some olive oil and sauté garlic, hot pepper and a bay leaf until they release their flavors. Add the squash to make a thick squash cream. Stir in the finely chopped mostarda, a hint of nutmeg and some lemon zest. Boil the rice and some of the rice cooking water to loosen up the squash mixture just enough that it will blend easily with the rice. When the rice is cooked through, drain it and add it to the pan with the squash, mix well stirring in some lemon juice. Serve the rice topped with a good swirl of olive oil, grated parmigiano, crushed amaretti cookies and the crumbled bacon.
3 Eggs of Pasta
serves 6 or makes 1 pan of lasagna
3/4 cup (125 g) hard wheat flour (finely ground semolina)
generous 3/4 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
pinch of salt
If you don't have semolina you can make the dough with all soft wheat flour but it may take more flour to keep it from being sticky.
Pour the flours and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well. Break the eggs into the well and beat with a fork, slowly incorporating flour until you can work the dough with your hands. Work in all the flour and knead, sprinkling the surface as you go with semolina. The dough should be smooth and elastic, if it’s wet or sticky add some semolina; if it’s dry add a few drops of water or another egg yolk. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Use a hand-crank pasta machine or a rolling pin to roll and stretch the dough to form sfoglia, sheets.
From this point you can make any filled pasta (ravioli, tortellini, tortelli etc.) or cut into any shape you wish (spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, farfalle, stracci etc.). Or make le lasagne layering the sfoglia with whatever fillings you choose.