Pasta has endless worlds. You can come up with any new sauce and the same shape will acquire a completely different taste. And even if many don't believe it, each pasta shape does have its own combination. You couldn't possibly serve pesto with farfalle, or ragu' with linguine...simply wrong! (By the way did you know that at some point (a long time ago hopefully) Brits thought that pasta grew on tree?).
Yesterday I tried to impart this basic concept to the girls I am teaching Italian cooking to - who by the way are as expected all much taller than me...the only one who has my height is a 12 years' old girl...In any case I hope they took me seriously despite my lilliputian stature and believed in the Pasta Bible first commandment.
To show me that he has got the concept clear, R. gave me a present (I wonder what he had done...), a book called "The Geometry of Pasta". I will need to make my way through it - and you will surely know all about it.
So on Saturday I thought of having a variation of ravioli (see a few posts back) and fill them with pumpkin - how seasonal! The varieties of pumpkins that you can find are extraordinary - I must remember to take a picture tomorrow at the market.
For 4 people
300g pasta flour
2 tbsp olive oil
100g bread crumbs
50 grounded almond
1. Make the pasta. In a well of flour, crack the eggs and with a fork beat them slowly catching slowly the flour around it so that it gets incorporated. Add the olive oil so that it becomes smoother. At some point you won't be able to mix the flour using the fork, so just use your hand making a kneading movement. The result is a ball elastic and firm. Cover it in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for half an hour.
2. Prepare the pumpkin. Cut it in piece removing the skin and the seeds/filaments. The pieces should be of around 4-6 cm wide and 5cm long (please don't take the tape measure though!). Leave them on a tray with a couple of tbsp of oil and some salt and roast in the oven at C200 for around 45 minutes.
3. When the pumpkin is soft, remove it and blend it to make a mash. Drain it in case there is excessive water. Add to this mash the bread crumbs, grated parmesan and grounded almonds. The filling has to be compact.
4. Remove the pasta from the fridge. Take part of it and make a patty. Pass it through the pasta machine using the widest slot and then passing it again (and flouring both the pasta and the slots) thinning it down using thinner and thinner slots. You can fold the pasta if gets too long and pass it again, it will make it even more elastic.
5. Create long strips (5cm wide) and using a tea spoon place a small amount of the pumpkin filling on the strip leaving 2 cm between each. Fold the side of the strip onto the other side to close the filling in it.
6. Using a finger, press the pasta in between the filling balls down and then cut both in between and on the sides. Seal each raviolo using the ridges of a fork.
7. Place the ravioli aside on a floured surface to avoid they stick together.
8. Cook the ravioli in boiling water (and a tbsp of a salt) for a couple of minutes. Apart melt in a pan 100g of butter with a few sage leaves. Drain the ravioli using a slotted spoon.
9. Dress the ravioli with the butter and sprinkle with more grated parmesan.