Pumpkin ravioli with spinach, sage & amaretti crumbs Steam pumpkin until tender. Mash to a purée, adding salt and nutmeg. When cool, whip in parmesan then crumbs.
Make pasta in a food processor. Put eggs and salt in processor bowl. Blend for 5 seconds, stop machine and sprinkle in flour. Pulse until mixture forms tiny beads; do not overwork or pasta will be tough. Tip onto a clean dry surface and press together into a ball. Wrap in plastic food wrap and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Cut the dough in half. Roll one half through the settings of a pasta maker, finishing at the last setting. Cut a piece of pasta approximately 12cm x 10cm and a second piece fractionally larger. Put 2 level Tbsp fi lling on the smaller piece, wet the corners, then cover with the larger piece of pasta, gently pressing out air before sealing. Transfer to a tray lined with baking paper. Continue cutting and stuffing pasta, then roll, cut and stuff the remaining dough. The pasta must be kept away from steam as it becomes sticky (and it doesn’t like humidity). It should be fi ne at room temperature for up to 2 hours (if necessary, sprinkle top of ravioli with a little flour to prevent sticking, and turn the pieces over from time to time). Alternatively, make ravioli ahead and freeze them on open trays, then carefully put them in a sealable bag and return to freezer until ready to use; they should be cooked from frozen.
When ready to cook, heat a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add 3 Tbsp butter and when melted add the sage leaves, thyme, chillies if using, and amaretti crumbs. Sizzle gently until crumbs and leaves are just changing colour – the sage leaves will become crisp as they stand. Scrape contents of pan onto a plate.
Have ready a large wide saucepan of gently boiling salted water. Gently lower ravioli into water and cook for about 5 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Frozen ravioli will take slightly longer.
Drain pasta and dish into heated bowls. Reheat frying pan and add a little butter. Add spinach, let it wilt and just start to sizzle, season with salt and pepper, then spoon over pasta. Reheat pan, add remaining butter and let it sizzle and turn brown. Pour it over the pasta, then top with amaretti crumbs and seasonings. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.
Cook's note - This recipe has several steps, but it is not difficult to make. The crunchy amaretti crumbs, which are sweet and bitter at the same time, contrast with the smoothness of the ravioli, making this a stand-out dish.
- Amaretti are a type of macaroon made with both sweet and bitter almonds. Originating in Piedmont and Lombardy, they are now popular throughout Italy. Amaretti are often used in savoury dishes. In this dish they keep the sweetness of pumpkin in check and give the soft fi lling a little crunch. Available from specialist stores and some supermarkets.
From Taste magazine, April 2011.