Author Notes: This is the signature dish of Ferrara, a quaint cobblestoned city in Emilia-Romagna, near the border of the Veneto. They are always made by hand and usually served in a butter sauce or sometimes with a meat ragu or tomato sauce. Butternut squash is most often used but you can use pumpkin too. - Emiko
Serves 4 as an entree
For the filling:
- 1 pound (500 grams) butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ounces (50 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
- pinches nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- To prepare the filling, first roast the butternut squash (seeds removed, skin on), with some olive oil. When cooled, remove the pulp with a spoon and place in a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients and combine well. The mixture should not be too wet, but you can add more breadcrumbs or Parmesan if needed. Set aside while you prepare the pasta.
For the pasta and sauce:
- 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) type 00 flour
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) butter
- 1 bunch of sage
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- To prepare the pasta, place the flour on a clean surface, create a ‘well’ in the middle of the flour and add the cracked eggs and yolks. Using a fork, whisk the eggs togther and, still whisking, slowly begin to incorporate the surrounding flour until the mixture becomes creamy and eventually becomes too thick to continue whisking.
- With floured hands, finish combining the flour until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Depending on the size of the eggs, you may not need all the flour or you may find the mixture too dry – in this case, you can add a bit of water until you have a dough you can work with. Knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes or until it becomes smooth, elastic and a finger poked into the surface of the dough bounces back. Let the dough rest, covered with a damp cloth, under a bowl, or in cling film, for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the rested pasta dough into four pieces, and, keeping the pieces that are not in use covered, roll out the pasta into paper-thin sheets with a pasta rolling machine until you can see your fingers through it.
- With a frilled-edge pastry cutter, divide the sheets into strips approximately 2 3/4 inch wide, and then into squares the same width.
- Place a heaped teaspoonful of mixture in the center of each square and on two of the sides, dab or brush some water (or if you've saved the egg whites from earlier, you can use beaten egg white). Then fold one corner of the pasta to the other to make triangles, carefully pushing out any air from the centre towards the edge before sealing. Next, fold the outer corners of the triangle together and seal by pressing down gently – this part of the cappellacci will essentially have 4 layers of pasta dough, so pressing to squash the dough and keep the shape of the cappellacci also serves to make sure it's not too thick and chewy.
- Let the cappellacci rest and dry out a little (up to an hour) on a well-floured board or cloth before cooking.
- Cook the cappellacci in a pot of boiling water salted with a teaspoon of salt, until they begin to float, around 6 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat and letting it turn a caramel brown colour. Add the sage leaves and let them infuse in the butter. Add a ladle of the water that the cappellacci are cooking in and whisk to create an emulsion. When the cappellacci are ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and place in the sauce, gently coating them. Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese.
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