Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pumpkin Agnolotti

First off, I need to thank my sous-Steph, because I could not have been successful in making this recipe without her help.  Even though she swears she doesn't do much to help me out in the kitchen, she definitely does.  Thanks, honey ;)

My mother has been making some manner of pumpkin/squash filled pasta for Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.  In the past, she's used spinach pasta and made square raviolis, both by free-form and by using a ravioli press.  Just thinking about standing at the Atlas pasta machine and cranking for an hour is making my right arm cramp up.  This year, I was armed with two tools that I haven't had in the past - my mom's KitchenAid pasta rollers, and the Restaurant Nicholas cookbook.

Making the filling was simple - roast a butternut squash and a sweet potato, blend, press through a tamis (which is on my holiday wish list), mix with honey and pumpkin puree and season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.  (Note:  I've never kept whole nutmeg in the house before, I would just buy the ground stuff.  Never again - grating whole nutmeg as you need it is the only way to go).

The pasta dough was rather fun to make - make a well in the middle of flour, add egg yolks and olive oil to the center, and mix until the dough comes together.  Too bad I miscalculated the size of my well, and my wet ingredients went up and over the sides, literally everywhere all over my work surface.  Fortunately, I have cat-like reflexes and was able to save my egg yolks and get my pasta together.  Insert about 10 minutes of hard kneading here:

After the kneading, I was left with a smooth and elastic dough, which I dusted and wrapped for 40 minutes (longer knead time = longer rest).  At that point it was time to let the KitchenAid do its thing and roll out the dough without causing my arm any undue discomfort or pain.

After my pasta was rolled out to the thinnest possible setting, it was time for filling the agnolotti.  I eschewed the pastry bag for a Zip-Loc with the corner snipped to get my filling piped out.  The whole idea, based on the book, was that the pasta was to resemble little 'pillows'.  After a few mishaps (you can see an oozing agnolotti below) and getting the technique down, I got pretty adept at piping, folding, pinching and cutting the individual agnolotti.

The pasta is finished with a brown butter sauce made from butter and Carrot Stock, which I made a batch of this morning from some frozen chicken stock I found in the back of the freezer.  The stuff essentially is a chicken demi-glace, which is then emulsified with 2 sticks of butter and some brown butter to make the sauce.  After the agnolotti get boiled up, they get dressed with the sauce, some sauteed butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds, thinly sliced sage leaves, and some grated truffle cheese.

How did it taste?  Damn delicious!  Everything was in balance, even though I swear I didn't get much of the truffle flavor - I think it just all added together into a cohesive dish.  Also, the book calls for "pumpkin seeds", but the picture in the book shows that they are green.  I've never ever seen unshelled pumpkin seeds sold before, so I went with tried-and-true David brand, and they came out great after a nice toast in a dry skillet.

Even though it was time-intensive, this is a dish I would definitely make again!


Heather said...

Alex that is beautiful! I bought won-ton wrappers with the idea of cheating to make pasta - now I feel I can't...

Stepha said...

Thanks for the shout-out. You forgot to mention a few things: the three awesome agnolotti I made at the end, your father stealing pumpkin seeds right out of the pan, and how everyone had seconds. And a few more things about the cooking that I won't mention. :)

Rob Timko said...

awesome! They look great!

Interestingly enough, I found 'raw hulled' pumpkin seeds right next to the davids. I didn't know they existed either. House of Bazzini is the name...they look I guess they will work.

The pasta shape looks pretty awesome to me!

p.s. I have an atlas pasta machine in the cabinet that falls on my foot every time I get tupperware, you're welcome to it now that I have my kitchen-aid one!!

Alex said...

Heather - you've got a Whole Foods local, right? Can you get pasta sheets? At that point, you can make yourself some filled pasta that way.

Stepha - my dad kept the bag of pumpkin seeds, and devoured them all today. We apparently 'forgot' them there.

Rob - I inherited my mom's (actually, my grandmother's) after she got her KitchenAid rollers. She couldn't wait to get that damn thing out of her house. It is currently sitting in a storage cabinet, and hasn't seen the light of day in years. As for the pumpkin seeds, maybe I just didn't see them - you went to Wegmans?

Xuan's Bakery 雨轩饼家 said...

wow.. u can cook! im the 1 cook but no one cook for me..

katie said...

Home made pasta, omg!

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