Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pump it up

Spurred by the sight of some gorgeous gourds at the local farmer's market, I recently undertook the seemingly simple task of making homemade Pumpkin Tortelli. Little did I know we would be knee deep in pumpkin filling for a week! The process itself was pretty easy (the most gratifying part of which was using the back of a rather large metal spoon to press nearly a whole pumpkin through a mesh sieve... it's like Play-Doh for epicureans!), but it took us three rounds of pasta dough to use up all the filling. And since we were stuffed to the gills with pumpkin-parmesan goodness, we elected to freeze four servings for later. All in all, I'd say that's quite a good take for one measly little pumpkin.

Here's the recipe which could easily be halved for the less pumpkin-crazed.

Pumpkin Tortelli

From The Silver Spoon Cookbook

4 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (plus extra to serve)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 - 2 cups bread crumbs (I would use less, personally)
7 ounces fresh pasta dough
1/4 cup butter
8 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pumpkin in a roasting pan, drizzle with the oil, cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Pass the pumpkin through a food mill (or fine sieve), add the Parmesan and eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in enough bread crumbs to make a fairly firm mixture. Roll out the pasta dough into a sheet and stamp out 3 inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Spoon a little of the pumpkin filling into the center of each round, fold in half and crimp the edges. Cook the tortelli in a large pan of salted, boiling water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet, add the sage, and cook for a few minutes.

Drain the tortelli, place in a warm serving dish and sprinkle with the sage butter and extra Parmesan. (I added a little curl of the pumpkin peel to each plate for an extra punch of color.)

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