Ravioli di Zucca, Cannella and Amaretti (Pumpkin, Cinnamon and Amaretti Ravioli)

DSC_2737A large platter of home-made filled pasta, such as ravioli, tortelli and cannelloni, is always on offer at the Italian Christmas table. Any pasta that is home-made requires that extra amount of labour in the kitchen, and Christmas is the perfect occasion to show your love for friends and family by treating them with the fruits of your work. Or, you can share the load and create a beeline of helpers to roll, fill and shape these delectable nuggets.  If the idea of making your own pasta still scares you, you can use store bough egg wanton wrappers. I won’t judge! You will need about 60 squares. Tortelli with roasted pumpkin and cinnamon, topped with crushed amaretti cookies have been on my family Christmas eve table for as long as I can remember. Yes, this is a laborious dish to prepare, so make sure you are armed with plenty of love, dedication and, most importantly, Christmas spirit!

Love,

Silvia

INGREDIENTS

For the dough (serves 4-6)

4 eggs

400 gr (3- 1/2 cups) of 00 flour

a pinch of salt

For the filling

500 gr (1 pound) of pumpkin (skin on), cut up into chunks

4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, skin on

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

salt and pepper for seasoning

3-4 sage leaves

100 gr (1 cup) of breadcrumbs

50 gr (1/2 cup) of grated parmesan

For the sauce

120 gr (1/2 cup) of butter

8-10 sage leaves

a pinch of salt

freshly ground black pepper

8-10 crunchy amaretti cookies (from Italian delis)

(You can make the filling up to 1-2 days as head and keep it in the fridge)

DSC_2645

HOW TO 

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C, 390 F

2. Place the cut up pumpkin in an oven tray lined with baking paper, season with oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper, scatter the garlic and the sage leaves and bake for 45-50 minutes or until soft

3. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, squeeze the garlic out of its skin and pulse in a food processor until smooth. Add the breadcrumbs, the parmesan, taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. At this point I always like to add a little extra cinnamon, but it it entirely up to you to do so or not.

4. Rest the filling in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

To make the dough:

1. Place eggs, flour and salt in a food processor fitted with blades and pulse for 10-12 times or until the mixture resemble wet sand.

2. Tip the mixture onto a floured surface, press it together with your hands and knead it for a few minutes or until smooth

3. Cover the dough with plastic film and rest for 30 minutes to relax the gluten

4. Cut the rested dough into quarters. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest wrapped in plastic film to prevent it from drying out. Flatten the piece of dough with the palm of your hand, then pass it through the machine’s widest setting three or four times, folding the dough into three each time. Continue passing the dough, each time through a thinner setting, until you get to the second-last setting or the sheet is roughly 2.5 mm thick

5. Dust your working bench with semolina, lay the long sheets of pasta onto it then dot them half way through with one teaspoon of the filling. Make sure to leave about 3 cm between each dollop.

6. Brush around filling with water to moisten. Fold sheet over; press down to seal.

7. Press around each mound to get rid of air bubbles (or the tortelli may burst when you cook them)

8. Cut into 4×4 cm squares with a pastry wheel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

9. Lay the tortelli onto a platter dusted with semolina and try not to over lap them

DSC_2643

10. You can cook the Tortelli straight away or freeze them for up  to two weeks.

DSC_2650

To assemble the dish

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil

2. In the meantime, brown the butter with sage and a pinch of salt in a large heavy-based pan until the butter is a pale caramel color and the sage is crispy

3. Cook the Tortelli for 2-3 minutes or until ready and still nicely al dente

4. Using  a slotted spoon, lift them from the water and drop them onto the brown butter pan and sautee for 2-3 minutes or until all the torelli are nicely coated and slightly caramelized. Season them with freshly ground black pepper

5. Arrange the tortelli onto a large serving platter and top them with the fried sage and the crushed amaretti cookies. Serve hot!

DSC_2742

Silvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is now available in stores and online!

9781921383373

Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach and Pecorino Salad

October is that time of the year when northern and southern hemisphere seem to share seasonal similarities. The temperature is still quite cool and crisp in Sydney, and although the fruit and vegetable stalls are starting to show the first crops of  spring peas, fava beans and mangoes, the wintry sturdiness of spinach and pumpkin is still abundant and inviting. These ingredients, together with shavings of pecorino cheese, a light lemon and EVOO dressing and a slice of sourdough, constitute the ideal transitional-season salad.

Ingredients for 4 people:

800 gr (1.7 lb) of Japanese pumpkin, cut in slices (skin on)

A few sprigs of rosemary

A handful of sage leaves

3 garlic cloves, skin on

3 or 4 tablespoons of EVOO

200 gr (1/3 cup)  of Pecorino cheese shavings

a handful of fresh pumpkin seeds (optional)

a packet of baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

How to

1. Line an oven tray with baking paper, arrange the pumpkin slices in one layer, the pumpkin seeds, and season with the herbs, oil, garlic and salt. Bake at 200 Celsius (395 Farenheit) for 45 minutes.

2. Wash and dry your baby spinach, dress it with two tablespoons of EVOO, 1 table-spoon of lemon juice and coarse salt.

3. Arrange the leaves onto a platter, scatter your toasted pumpkin seeds, your pumpkin slices and the pecorino shavings and grind some fresh black peppercorn on top.

Enjoy with toasted Ciabatta for added pleasure…

Silvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is now available in stores and online!

9781921383373