Pumpkin tortellini, walnut pesto and spinach
( SERVES 4 )
The sweet nuttiness of pumpkin is an easy and satisfying filling for fresh pasta. I like unusual pairings of ingredients for the surprises they can often bring; preserved lemon is a comfortable partner with pumpkin, giving mysterious hints of licorice. You could just make simple, round ravioli shapes but I prefer tortellini because the shape resembles tummy buttons - an amusing thought to entertain yourself with while eating.
|1 tsp||Preserved lemon, chopped|
|60 g||Parmesan cheese, grated|
|60 g||Ricotta cheese|
|1||Free-range egg, beaten|
|100 ml||Chicken stock, or vegetable stock|
|1 handful||Spinach leaves, large|
- Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the tortellini filling, peel the pumpkin, scrape out and discard the seeds, cut the flesh into large chunks and bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Wash the preserved lemon, discarding the soft pulp and rinsing the outer shell.
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven, purée until smooth in a food processor and allow to cool completely - you will need about 1 cup.
- Place into a mixing bowl and add the ricotta, parmesan, preserved lemon and egg.
- To make the walnut pesto, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Peel and chop the garlic, add to the oil and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and walnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- To make the pasta, place the flour and salt into a food processor and with the motor running add the eggs one at a time. Add the oil with the last egg, and as soon as the dough comes together, stop the motor.
- Turn the dough out onto a workbench and knead until it is smooth, silky and elastic. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Set up your pasta machine on the edge of a table or kitchen bench. Cut the dough into three batches and roll each one through the machine on its thickest setting. Keep rolling the dough through the machine, working your way down to the thinnest setting. Cover each batch with cling film before moving on to the next one.
- Take each sheet and, using a sharp knife, cut into 5cm squares.
- To assemble the tortellini, place a teaspoon of pumpkin filling in the centre of each square and brush two adjoining edges with beaten egg. Bring the two opposing corners together and seal to form a triangular shape. Wrap each triangle around your little finger to join the two ends of the longest side together. Repeat with the remaining squares.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the tortellini for 2 minutes. Drain and place in a saucepan with the chicken or vegetable stock. Add the spinach leaves, gently rotating the pan to prevent the tortellini sticking. Check if it needs salt and pepper, spoon the tortellini onto serving plates and spoon the walnut pesto over the top.