Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homemade Butternut Squash and Apple-Stuffed Tortellini

Homemade Butternut Squash and Apple-Stuffed Tortellini with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
I can’t handle the cold. Anything less than maybe 75 degrees and I'm “freezin’.” All it takes is the slightest nip in the air (or the air conditioner) and I’m bundled up to my eyes. I do love autumn, though; after all, I was born when the leaves were falling. With just the right amount of cool, a cozy sweater or light jacket is all you need to be comfortable. But when the wind starts to blow with a fiercer kind of chill, there’s the constant reminder that rough, freezin’ waters are ahead, mateys.

When you get to shivering, you want to eat something that is comforting; a filling meal that warms you to your core. Homemade pasta is just that. I created these tortellini with the season in mind. Filled with a mixture of apples and butternut squash, they are a delicious way to enjoy fall’s bounty. To finish, the pasta is tossed with a simple brown butter and sage sauce as not to mask all of the great flavors going on inside of the tortellini. Brown butter or beurre noisette is literally, butter that's cooked until it becomes golden brown. As the butter browns it develops a nice nutty taste.

Making the pasta dough
Dry pasta is great but like an infomercial trying to sell you towards making your own might say, the difference between dry and fresh can take a pasta dish from drab to fab! And it’s so easy! Are you sold? With fresh pasta, it’s almost as if you can just taste the extra effort that went into making it; it’s so homey. Once you've mixed all your ingredients into a smooth, elastic ball of dough make sure to let it rest, covered, for at least an hour. After being beaten up and kneaded, allowing the dough to relax and release all of its built up tension will make it easier to roll out.

I don’t have a pasta machine so I rolled my dough out by hand. You want the dough to be really thin, so it takes a little bit of muscle. It worked out fine, but I have to admit, I was wishing I had a pasta machine the entire time. Not only would it be easier, but I would have been able to get the dough thinner. Note to self: you need to get a pasta machine! I know for a fact that I would be making more pasta from scratch if I had one.

Ingredients for tortellini filling:
Roasted butternut squash, feta cheese  sauteed apples, olive oil-poached shallots, toasted and ground walnuts
The filling for the tortellini is made up of several layers: toasted and ground walnuts, roasted butternut squash, sautéed apples, and poached shallots. Feta cheese and seasonings are sprinkled in between and everything is blended together in the food processor. The shallots are poached in olive oil which softens the shallot both in texture and intensity, while also infusing the oil. You will need the oil to help blend everything together, but you should have some left over. Don’t throw it away—it’s too good! I used mine in vinaigrette for a side salad.

With all those folds, tortellini might come off as difficult, but it's really pretty simple. See?

Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook. Once these come up to the surface of the boiling water, they should be done. Test to make sure.
Finished with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano. Bon Appetit!
Homemade Butternut Squash and Apple-Stuffed Tortellini with Brown Butter Sage Sauce:
Fresh Pasta Dough:
- 1 # AP Flour + as needed
- Pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 fl oz water (or as needed)
- ½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 whole shallots, peeled
- 2 apples (gala, granny smith, or golden delicious), peeled and diced
- Olive oil (for roasting squash, sautéing apples, and poaching shallots)
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and ground in food processor
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Ground allspice to taste
- Ground ginger to taste
- 1 whole egg, whisked for egg wash
- 1 stick butter
- Fresh sage leaves
• Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
• To make pasta: mix salt and flour together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add eggs and water to well. Work as quickly as possible, gradually pulling the flour into the wet ingredients, and stir until a loose mass forms. As dough is mixed, you may need to adjust with additional flour or water. (The pasta dough can also be mixed in a food processor or electric mixer). Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the texture becomes smooth and elastic. Gather the kneaded dough into a ball, cover and let relax at room temperature for at least an hour.
• Toss butternut squash with salt, pepper, and olive oil on a sheet tray. Roast for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven until soft. In a small sauce pot, cover shallots almost all the way with olive oil. Bring the oil to a slow simmer and cook shallots until soft, about 20-25 minutes. When the shallots are done, roughly chop and reserve the oil. In a sauté pan, heat regular olive oil and cook apples until soft.
• To make the filling: in a food processor, combine roasted butter nut squash, roughly chopped shallots, sautéed apples, feta cheese, ground walnuts and some of the reserved shallot oil. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning with ground allspice, ground ginger, salt and pepper.
• Divide pasta dough into 2-4 separate balls. Roll out pasta dough (by hand or with a pasta machine) into a thin sheet. Cut out squares as perfectly as possible. Lay a small spoonful of the butternut squash filling into the center of the square. Brush two of the edges with egg wash. Fold the square diagonally over the filling to make a triangle. Wrap the triangle around your pinky so that both ends meet and overlap each other; press to secure. Fold the pointed top down over the back. (Can refrigerate up to 2 days).
• In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add tortellini. When they are done they will rise to the surface--it will only take a few minutes. While the pasta is cooking, heat butter in a pan until it becomes golden brown in color. Add the sage. Toss tortellini with butter sage sauce and serve.


Alice said...

That looks awesome! I have yet to tackle homemade pasta, but I will one of these days, you make it look easy!

~Lisa~ said...

Marisa, girl your pasta rolling skills rock! Who needs a pasta machine when you can roll out the dough by hand that thin. I'm impressed. Sounds sweet and delicious.

Koci said...

Yum!! This tortellini looks so fall-y and beautiful. I love the combination of apples and butternut squash!

Major kudos for your homemade pasta skillz, too. :D

Monet said...

I'm so happy that I stumbled on your blog tonight...what a wonderful post! I, like you, can't stand cold weather. And bowls of pasta are certainly one way to make it through the winter season. You are a pasta making queen. Thank you for sharing this recipe and your experience with us!

Chef Dennis said...

I have never made pasta, I really need to learn how to make it so I can teach my girls!! Your tortellini should be on the menu at a 5 star looks incredible!

Erin @ EKat's Kitchen said...

Wow! This looks fantastic. I've never made pasta from scratch, but you may have just inspired me! I love the addition of the apples - I include apples any time I possibly can in recipes.

Lauren Zabaneh said...

This is amazing! I am craving this kind of food right now. It's so cozy! I love how they are like little presents filled with yummy goodness. You make it look so easy. I've never tried to make torellini, but now I really want to! thanks Marisa!

Elin said...

Marisa, well done, it looks great even without a pasta machine, the tortellini looks thin enough :)

Magic of Spice said...

Marisa, these look perfect and I love the filling/sauce...Wow!
I have made my own pasta several times, but never brave enough for tortellini :)

Fight the Fat Foodie said...

This looks absolutely marvelous!

ravienomnoms said...

I want to make my own pasta so bad! Thanks so much for sharing this!


Oh holy heaven! They look and sounds fantastic! Your tortellini look like you've had some practice.

The Mom Chef said...

I've not tried home made pasta but your gorgeous dish make me want to do so! Thanks for sharing it.

Foodessa said...

Marisa...your talents are truly shining!!! You are so gutzy to want to undertake all this at the same time. Brava! Love the blend of ingredients used.

Ciao for now,

alison said...

wow,these little pasta is special for fall!very cute!

Angie's Recipes said...

This looks really great! Thanks for sharing the recipe and detailed instructions.


Kristen said...

Those tortellini sound absolutely incredible. I love the filling combination.

Victoria K. said...

Looks like the perfect pasta dish for fall! I highly suggest if you are considering a pasta roller to get the Kitchenaid attachment for a Kitchenaid stand mixer (but of course only if you have one of those, haha). It really makes it a breeze to roll out pasta dough, and you can get it with cutter attachments as well. It's definitely worth the investment :) I'm obsessed with mine, haha.

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

you are so talented. the tortellini looks perfect. thank you for sharing this. i cant wait to try this out soon. have a nice weekend.