Butternut squash tortellini

I don’t often cook full vegetarian meals (I should try to do it more), but at the end of the day, as long as the food delivers on flavour, it doesn’t really matter what it is. These vegetarian  tortellinis filled with butternut squash definitely do just that.

Serves 4
1 butternut squash
250g fine white wheat flour (00 grade is best)
2 large eggs
3 cloves of garlic
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 onion
50ml double cream
50ml pine nuts
1tbsp olive oil
salt
black pepper

1. Peel and cut the butternut squash into cubes. Place half in a pot with two cloves of garlic and the thyme sprigs. Cover with a lid, bring to boil and simmer until soft (around 20-30 minutes), drain the liquid in another pan, saving it for later.

2. Peel and chop the onion, and place in the same pot the squash was cooked in, together with the olive oil. Heat and fry the onion for a few minutes. Squeeze one clove of garlic in, and fry for another minute or so. Remove the thyme sprigs and whole garlic cloves from the cooked butternut squash pieces, and add the butternut squash to the pan. Stir together, and set aside to cool.

3. Bake the remaining half of the squash pieces in a preheated oven 180°C/355°F for about 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.

4. Prepare the pasta.  Measure the pasta flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour the eggs in. Then, starting with a fork, break the eggs and little by little mix the eggs with the surrounding flour. Once the dough gets firmer, move onto kneading by hand.

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5. Once cooled, prepare the filling. Put the boiled squash pieces,  fried onion and garlic in a blender. Add half the cream and half the pine nuts, then blitz together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cut the dough into four pieces. Repeat the next stages with all pieces. Roll the piece to a cigar shape, then flatten the piece with your hands, and roll through the pasta machine, on the widest setting. Fold the dough over in half, and roll through the same setting again. Then reduce the setting to the next, and roll through. Repeat until desired thickness is achieved. I would say from 7 down to 2 should be fine.

7.  Cut your pasta. Brush half of the pasta round with egg, and add the filling (make sure it’s cooled). Fold the other half of the pasta over, and close with your fingers, pressing the pasta firmly together. Make sure you don’t leave air in.

8. Boil a large pan of water, with a generous amount of salt. Add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.

9. Bring the saved cooking water of the butternut squash to boil in a separate pot. Reduce to about half. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add 25ml double cream. Mix the oven roasted squash pieces into the sauce.

10. Serve the tortellini and the sauce together with the rest of the pine nuts sprinkled on top, and with some pea shoots and grated parmesan cheese.

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Pheasant tortellini with homemade spinach pasta

I love making my own pasta. The dough itself couldn’t be any simpler, as you only need flour and eggs for the basic one. You can make different variations by adding different ingredients like tomato puree, spinach or squid ink. I have finally managed to get my dough to the perfect consistency, and have also finally learned how to best make the filling for stuffed pasta. Ravioli is something my husband asks for more often than I make it. In the past, my ravioli didn’t seem to work out so well, however I have now managed to overcome this. Might even be I will have a happy husband eating ravioli more often from now on! On this post, for the first time, I’ve added small video clips about couple of stages of the pasta making. I’m very much at a practice stage with my tutorial videos, and hopefully with experience will get better.

Spinach pasta dough
250g 00 grade pasta flour
2 large eggs
125g fresh spinach, cooked and pureed

Pheasant stuffing
400g pheasant breast or leg meat
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
25g butter
150 ml dry white wine
150 ml double cream
salt and pepper

1. Chop the onions and garlic, and fry in butter until translucent. Add the pheasant meat and the white wine, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the pheasant is just cooked through. Set aside to cool.

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2. Once cooled, place the meat, onion and garlic into a food processer. If you have any liquid left in the pan, leave it there and use it as part of your sauce. Blitz the ingredients in the food processor, and add the cream, until the mixture is soft, mousse or paste -like texture.

3. Boil the spinach until soft. Drain / squeeze all water off, and puree.

4. Measure the pasta flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour the eggs in. Then, starting with a fork, break the eggs and little by little mix the eggs with the surrounding flour. Once the dough gets firmer, move onto kneading by hand. Once the basic dough is ready mix the spinach puree in.

5. Cut the dough into four pieces. Repeat the next stages with all pieces. Flatten the piece with your hands, and roll through the pasta machine, on the widest setting. Fold the dough over in half, and roll through the same setting again. Then reduce the setting to the next, and roll through. Repeat until desired thickness is achieved. I would say from 7 down to 3 or 4 should be fine.

6. Cut your pasta. Brush half of the pasta round with egg, and add the filling. Fold the other half of the pasta over, and close with your fingers, pressing the pasta firmly together. Make sure you don’t leave air in.

7. Boil a large pan of water, with a generous amount of salt. Add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes.