Tortelli with pumpkin, amaretti biscuits and mostarda filling

October 14, 2019

For the filling:

  • 500g of pumpkin flesh (peeled and deseeded) cut into chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 150 g of amaretti biscuits, finely crushed into almost an almost floury consistency
  • 2 tablespoons of fruit mostarda sauce (you should be able to buy it in a good Italian delicatessen, omit if it is difficult to get) 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of grated Grana Padano or parmesan cheese
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste (not too much, I sometimes don’t add at all)
  • bread crumbs (if needed to thicken the puree)
  • grated zest of half a lemon 
  • you can adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper but personally I don’t feel the need for it

For the pasta:

  • 300g of flour (00 type)
  • 3 medium eggs (organic)
  • 1 egg yolk (organic)
  • *one egg, lightly beaten

For the sage and butter sauce:

  • three tablespoons of butter
  • a few sage leaves 

In an oven preheated to 170 C bake the pumpkin pieces until soft, that shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

In  Italy I use pumpkin from Mantova, prised for its delicate flesh. The skin on the other hand is very hard to remove, so you actually bake the whole pumpkin first and peel it once it has cooled down. From a 850 g in weight pumpkin I tend to get around 500g of pure flesh (after peeling) and it takes me about 30-35 minutes to bake it whole in the oven.

Once the pumpkin is baked and has cooled down turn it into puree using a potato ricer. Pass it through twice in order to get a fine puree with no lumps (I use a passaverdure instead).

In a bowl mix very well all the ingredients for the filling. The sweet amaretti biscuit flavour should be well pronounced. This filling is on a sweeter note and it should be rather dense.

In the meantime prepare the pasta dough.

Pour the flour onto a work surface into a high hip. Now with your fingers create a well where you will place the eggs including the additional egg yolk (you can beat the eggs first and pour them into the well if you prefer). With a fork start gently with circular movements stirring the eggs into the flour until you obtain a rough dough. Now start kneading it for about 10 minutes, it is a very important part in the pasta making process.The dough should be fairly elastic at this point.

Now form a bowl, wrap it well in cling film and leave in the fridge to cool for about an hour.

Rolling out the pasta and shaping the tortelli or ravioli (or any other parcel shape of your choice):

I use a wooden rolling pin to roll out my pasta. Of course you can use a pasta machine if you already have one. 

Take the dough from the fridge, divide it in half and start rolling it out on a floured surface turning it over until you get the pasta thin enough to be able to slightly see through when you lift it.

Wrap the remaining dough with cling film.

I use roughly one teaspoon of the filling for my ravioli (as seen in the picture).

I would recommend to try and make one or two pasta parcels first.  The quantity of the filling will depend on the size of the ravioli you want to achieve. You can use stamps like mine that help to extract the unwanted air and seal the edges without the need to use an egg wash* (to glue the pasta sheets together). If you don’t have that kind of stamp or a similar one (with the open top) you can use metal  rings/ moulds or even a water glass. Alternatively cut the pasta into squares and seal the edges with a fork or using your hands. Use the size of a teaspoon as guidance.

Once you have chosen the shape and the size of the ravioli, cut a long rectangular sheet of pasta and start arranging the fillings, make sure you leave about 3-4 cm of space in between.

If you are not using a stamp and want to make sure that the pasta sheets will stick together, beat one egg and brush it around each mound of the filling. Cut out another rectangular pasta sheet of the same size and gently cover the previous one pressing on top and around the filling mounds making sure that there is no air left in your parcel that you are making. Now take the stamp of your choice and cut out the ravioli.

Repeat the process with the remaining rolled out pasta. Make sure you dust your pasta parcels with the flour to prevent from sticking to the surface and drying out.

Roll out the remaining half of pasta dough and repeat the process.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a generous teaspoon of salt. Drop the prepared ravioli into the pan, stir gently and cook (without the lid) for about 1-2 minutes until they come to the surface. You can check one of your ravioli if the pasta is cooked enough, if not keep them in the water for another minute or so, otherwise remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and arrange on a serving dish.

In the meantime melt the butter in a pan, add the sage leaves and let the butter foam stirring occasionally. Once the butter becomes lightly golden pour it (with the sage leaves) over the tortelli 

and sprinkle with grated parmesan or crushed amaretti biscuits.

Serve immediately.