For those of you looking for a last-minute-something-special to impress your relatives this Thursday, there’s nothing like a savory pumpkin agnolotti to do just the trick. A cousin to ravioli, agnolotti is made with a smoother, silkier pasta dough and needs a smooth-textured filling for the best texture.
Chef (and Sommelier) Chris Shackelford let me make an intermediate recipe with him last week (okay, I did a little, he did a lot). It’s the same pumpkin agnolotti he puts on the menu at Trelio from time-to-time. If this is your first time trying it, be patient. Once we completed six agnolottis, Chef Chris saw that I felt pretty accomplished and then said, “Great. You’ve just made half of one serving. Let’s keep going.” Cooking with love and precision often take time. You will need a pasta machine and mixer (saves some of that time) to complete the task.
By the way, if you really want to impress your friends and relatives this season, make a reservation at Trelio and experience Chef Chris’ innovative take on seasonal produce, delicious everything (the menu changes daily), and of course an excellent selection of wine. It’s definitely one of the best spots in town!
Disclaimer: Chef Chris did let me and photographer Enrique Meza eat what we cooked. Yes, we were swayed, but you’d be raving about Trelio too, if it were you!
Ingredients for Pumpkin Filling
1 pumpkin or butternut squash
Herb mixture of sage, rosemary, parsely, chopped
Salt and pepper
Whole garlic cloves
1/2 c. gruyere cheese
1 t. salt
Ingredients for Agnolotti
4 c Italian 00 flour (not all purpose)
1 T cinnamon
Then, for the well:
2 T salt
7 eggs (set aside one for the egg wash)
3 T olive oil
1 T water
Ingredients for Brown Butter Sauce
Leftover herbs from filling
Directions for Pumpkin Filling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a super sharp knife, peel the squash like an orange. Cut it all to the same thickness so it cooks evenly. Lay evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle EVOO on the pieces and season with herbs, including the garlic cloves, which will roast alongside everything else (the smells! OMG).
Place in heated oven for 35 min or until everything is lightly browned. Refrigerate roasted pumpkin for at least 20 min when you are ready to make the filling and pasta.
Place roasted pumpkin and herbs into food processor. Discard excess oil from baking pan. Add 1/2 c. gruyere to give complexity to the filling. Add approximately 1 tsp salt and a little back pepper to taste. Keep adding and tasting as you are mixing.
Place mixture into piping bag. Set aside for pasta.
Directions for Agnolotti
Mix cinnamon with flour in the Kitchen Aid. Create a well for the mixture of salt, eggs, olive oil, water. Start mixing fast, then slow it down. Be careful not to make a mess; you want movement of flour into the bowl. Once it’s all kneaded (you may also do this using a traditional hand-kneadng technique), take quarter of mix, work into a log, then flatten. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 min.
Create an egg wash for pasta (1 egg, 2 T water, mixed).
Dust your work surface with flour. Make sure not to get flour in your pasta (otherwise you’ll taste uncooked flour later). Take your pasta log and start carefully feeding it into the pasta machine on setting 1. Go back and forth all the way up the dial. Be very precise with the pasta.
Once the pasta dough is flattened, very lightly brush the egg wash on the entire side of pasta (keep it thin). Pipe a silver dollar-shaped mound of filling, an inch and a half part. Stay consistent in the size and spacing.
Next, taking the pasta sheet with both hands, roll it over the mounds, exactly to the edge. Next, work all air out. Pinch after each mound, closing and crimping as you go, getting all of the air out. Use a pasta wheel to shape each pasta (small rectangles work). Place on a flour-dusted pan as you complete each sheet.
Boil each batch of ravioli for 4 min. Top with a brown butter sauce (simply brown the butter with salt, pepper, herbs, then add wine if you like). Enjoy.
Chef’s Tips and Tricks
- Always buy your squash from the same grower so the color stays consistent. You want it to be a nice orange. Don’t get stuck adding orange food coloring to show how “seasonal” it is!
- You don’t want any sweetness in your ravioli; start the filling early so you get the best flavor. The herbs help develop the flavor quickly. Season the pumpkin like you would meat.
- Keep the filling smooth: chunky filling is not recommended for this particular technique of pasta. Piping bags are better (vs. the spoon technique) to maintain the consistency.
- Find a container for your piping bag. It makes filling the bag much easier.
- Start boiling the water before you begin to roll out the pasta. Salt the water to taste like the sea, then bring to a boil.
- Place cooked agnolotti on a bed of cooked kale (place a bunch in a hot smoky pan of olive oil, add chopped shallots, cook so the shallots are barely translucent).
In midst of all this, a girl has gotta eat, right? Alisa is loves chatting with chefs behind the scenes and exploring the rich food culture of the Central Valley.