I adore experimenting with pasta recipes and this one was delicious. There is something so satisfying about making it at home and the effort is always worth it. The combination of the sweet amaretti biscuits and sweet pumpkin goes so well with the strong fragrant flavour of the sage and the almost Unami salty flavour of the parmesan. Because of the sweetness of this recipe I decided to shape the pasta like candies or caramelle in Italian, but you could make raviolis too. I used a combination of roasted butter nut squash and acorn squash, but you can also use any large flavourful squash or even a tin of store-bought pumpkin puree. I added balsamic vinegar too which is also very sweet because I love it and add it to everything I cook, I think that, and smoked salt are the two ingredients I cannot live without. Feel free to leave this out if your not a fan
I created some step by step photos, I suppose really it stems from my love of story telling with photos. I love to take shots of the dish being made probably more than I like photographing the finished dish. Maybe its the mess and the chaos I love or maybe it is the human element that I love I think its so enjoyable to look at. taking photos of hands at work is my favourite thing to shoot, there is just something so beautiful about it. weirdly these are my own hands and I had to use a tripod and timer, and often I will call my partner into help and I will say press the button, I have him well trained now.
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time approx. 2 hours
Cooking time 10 minutes for the pasta or 1 and a half hours if roasting your own pumpkins.
Fluted pastry cutter
400g tipo 00 pasta flour
6 medium eggs
1 tsp olive oil
50g amaretti biscuits
100g finely grated Parmesan
400g pumpkin purée
I tsp ground Black pepper (I sometimes add more as I like my food quite peppery)
1 tsp Salt (I used smoked salt)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Thyme (leaves from 3 sprigs)
8 big Sage leaves (fried and chopped up)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
12 sage leaves
Handful of flaked almonds
Freshly grated Parmesan
Drizzle Balsamic vinegar
You can use a tin of pumpkin purée or make your own by roasting a pumpkin in the oven. To do this cut the pumpkin in to four and scoop on the seeds and place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 1hr at 180c (depending on the size of the pumpkin it may take longer) once it is soft, scoop the flesh away from the skin and purée and let cool. I like to add whole cloves of garlic (skins on) on the same roasting tray to roast them, if you do this then squeeze out the garlic from the skins and add one or two in with the filling when you puree it, you will love it. Or save them for another dish. Roasting garlic like this caramelises it and makes it sweet I love to add it to lots of dishes I cook.
Put the amaretti cookies in a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb them mix in with the pumpkin puree and add the finely grated Parmesan, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. Add some oil in a pan (about 2 tbsp) and fry the sage until crispy. Pour the excess oil in with the pumpkin and chop up the sage and mix in. Add balsamic vinegar and then taste to see if there is enough seasoning. This is when I normally add more pepper.
You can do this on a work surface by adding the flour into a pile and making a well in the centre. Then add the eggs and oil and mix with your hand or a fork pulling in the flour a little at a time and mix together. Knead for 5 minutes into smooth. (You can also use a food processor) cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Cut the dough in half and roll out Using a pasta machine. Start at the widest setting and roll the pasta through then fold the dough in half and roll it through again. Do this three more times, then turn the pasta machine down to the next setting and roll it through. Dust with flour and turn the setting down again and roll through, continue this until the dough is thin. On my pasta machine I usually go down to the number 7 or 8 setting on the machine. You could also roll it by hand if you have a large work area and a large rolling pin.
Place the strip of dough on the table and spoon on mounds of filling and then brush around the filling on the pasta with some water or beaten egg and brush down one side of the dough (I brush down the side that I will fold over last to that it seals it. Roll one side of dough over and press out any air and then fold the other side over (the one brushed with water or egg) on top so it’s wrapped up like a parcel then cut them with a pastry cutter leaving excess pasta each side. Press out any more air and seal the edges by pressing down then crimp together to make them look like candies, to do this pinch the excess pasta tightly against the filling, you can then do a crimp. You can use a fluted pastry cutter to trim the edges to make it look neater. Place them on a floured tray. Boil a big pan of water, once it reaches the boil add some salt then add the pasta and boil for about 4 minutes. Gently pour out into a colander or use a slotted spoon to remove them.
In a sauce pan add the butter and oil and melt then add the sage and almonds and simmer until the sage is crispy and the almonds are golden. The butter will brown, pour through a sieve to remove any brown bits then remove the almonds and sage from the Sieve and add back to the butter. Toss the pasta in the butter and serve with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
Alterations to the recipe
If you are not a fan of amaretti then why not mix 200g of pumpkin puree with 300g of ricotta instead this is also delicious.
If you have a nut allergy then do the filling suggested above and finish the dish with just fried sage instead of almonds.