Picture this: Pavaratti softly playing in the background, candlelight, a good bottle of Italian wine, a floured kitchen, and the best stuffed tortellini you could ever imagine.
This recipe is handmade with seasonal ingredients, including roasted pumpkin, garlic and shallots (which we pair here with aged Holland gouda), and a fried sage butter sauce. It’s an elegant first course, one with just the right rustic edge for a fall dinner party. It can also be served as the main course of a special vegetarian supper.
2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pumpkin sliced in 2” thick pieces
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup shredded Holland gouda
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper (to taste)
Add the flour to a bowl and create a well in the middle with your fingers.
Crack the eggs into the well along with the olive oil.
Begin to beat the eggs with a fork, slowly mixing in the flour a bit at a time. Continue until it is too difficult to use the fork.
Use the tips of your fingers to mix in the flour, and then use your hands. The dough will be crumbly. Mix in the bowl for at least 2 minutes, until it begins to stick together as a ball.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface, leaving behind any flour left in the bowl. (Do not dump out the dough; simply pick up the ball that you have created and transfer to a floured surface.)
Continue to knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until it has a smooth texture (it will be hard, and this is perfect). If the dough is too dry, wet your hands under running water and continue to knead. If it is too wet, add a bit of flour to the surface and mix in gradually.
Wrap in a dish towel or saran wrap and leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Lightly sprinkle oil on a baking sheet and line with pumpkin.
Place garlic and shallots on top and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Roast for 30 minutes, until soft.
Scoop out the soft pumpkin flesh and add it to a food processor with the garlic and shallots. Add the gouda and remaining olive oil and process until smooth.
*Optional: To use pumpkin puree in a can, simply cook the garlic and shallots over medium heat in a pan with oil and mix in with the puree.
Roll out the dough in small batches, until ¼” thick. Begin by rolling out the dough in a rectangle shape before rolling it with the pasta machine. (Using a rolling pin or an empty wine bottle is also an option!)
Cut out circular shaped pieces (I use a glass cup). You can use the leftover dough to form new pieces, kneading it together and rolling out again.
Place a teaspoon amount of pumpkin filling in the middle of the dough. Fill a dish with warm water and set it nearby. Dip your finger in and lightly wet one half of the outer edge of the pasta. This acts as a glue and helps keep it together while cooking.
Fold over the opposite edge and press firmly to seal. Grab both ends and gently bring together in the middle. Pinch together and voilà! (These may look complicated to shape, but once you get the hang of it, you can make them quickly.)
To cook the pasta, heat a large pot of salted water. Once it is boiling, begin by adding small amounts of tortellini (approx. 10) and cook until they begin to float (approx. 3-5 min). Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and place into a warm pan with the melted butter. Toss to coat.
To fry the sage, heat olive oil until very hot in a small frying pan. Drop a bit of water in and if it sizzles, it is hot enough. Drop the sage in the oil using tongs and fry for 30 seconds, until crispy. Remove and place on paper towel.
Serve the warm pasta with crispy sage and grated parmesan.
Enjoy with your favorite Italian red wine!