Holiday

Roasted Winter Squash Soup With Sfoglia Lorda

November 11, 2020
1 Rating
Photo by ROCKY LUTEN. PROP STYLIST: MEGAN HEDGPETH. FOOD STYLIST: LAUREN LAPENNA.
Author Notes

This dish is the ultimate celebration of Parmigiano Reggiano and one that I wish I had simmering on the stove every winter weekend. It all starts with the broth, infused with the intense flavor of the cheese rinds that can, if you wish, stand on its own. But layer it with a hint of sweetness from roasted squash, a dusting of warm nutmeg, and a dash of cream and you have yourself a seasonal staple.

To make this a meal, I’ve paired the soup with one of my favorite under-the-radar pastas: sfoglia lorda (or spoja lorda), meaning “dirty pasta.” I first came across these bite-sized ravioli through Pasta Grannies, and they’ve since become a go-to in my house, both because of their robust Parmigiano flavor and because they’re shockingly easy to make. Like the cheese they’re filled with, sfoglia lorda come from Emilia-Romagna and were born out of a desire to use leftover cappelletti filling. Instead of wasting what remained, a very thin layer of the mixture was sandwiched between pasta sheets and cut into small rectangles. Sfoglia lorda are traditionally served in meat stock, but I find they make a wonderful addition to any soup.

A FEW NOTES:
I always like to have some Parmigiano Reggiano broth on hand, so don’t hesitate to double the recipe. The broth can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for three to five days, or in the freezer for several months.

Sfoglia lorda are typically filled with a soft cheese like campagnolo, stracchino, raviggiolo or casatella, which are difficult to find stateside. Here, I’ve substituted mild goat cheese, since it has the thick, spreadable texture that’s ideal for this pasta. If you’re not a goat cheese fan, switch it out for more (very firm) ricotta.

To make sure the pasta doesn’t leak, it’s important to remove any excess moisture from the filling. If your ricotta is watery, drain it for 15 to 20 minutes in cheesecloth before using, or pat it dry between some paper towels. This is also why the egg is essential: even if the filling starts to peek through the cut ravioli, the egg will hold it together during the cooking process.

If there’s one piece of special equipment worth using here, it’s a fluted pasta cutter. This tool is designed to seal and cut the pasta at the same time, which helps prevent the sfoglia lorda from leaking. If you don’t have one but you’re keen to give the recipe a try, dot little pockets of filling across one of the pasta sheets and leave small gaps of dough in between. Then, once you’ve layered the other pasta sheet on top, prick the pockets with a fork to let the air escape, cut along the dough gaps with a knife, and seal the pieces manually. —Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. —The Editors

  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • For the Parmigiano Reggiano broth:
  • 225 grams (about 4 to 5 large) Parmigiano Reggiano rinds
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot, large
  • 5 sprigs thyme, fresh
  • 5 sprigs parsley, fresh
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 grams (2 teaspoons) black peppercorns
  • Salt, to taste
  • For the soup:
  • 650 grams (1 large) butternut or sweet winter squash
  • 20 grams (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • 5 sprigs thyme, fresh
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, fresh
  • 1 1/4 liters (5 cups) Parmigiano Reggiano broth
  • 75 milliliters (1/3 cup) heavy cream
  • Generous dusting freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the pasta:
  • 300 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) '00' soft wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams (about 1/4 cup) semolina or semola rimacinata flour
  • 200 grams egg (about 4 whole eggs, or 3 whole eggs and 2-3 yolks, depending on egg size), whisked together
  • Semolina flour, for dusting
  • For the filling:
  • 115 grams (1/2 cup) firm whole milk ricotta
  • 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) mild goat cheese
  • 100 grams (a generous 2/3 cup) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • A generous dusting (about 1/4 teaspoon) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, to taste
  • For finishing:
  • 20 grams (1 to 2 tablespoons) clarified butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch sage leaves
  • Parmigiano Reggiano shavings, for garnish
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the broth: Wrap the Parmigiano Reggiano rinds in cheesecloth and tie a knot at the top. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot as it cooks. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, skip this step but make sure to stir the broth more often to prevent sticking.)

    Cut the top off the garlic bulb crosswise so the cloves are exposed. Halve the onion through the root and leave the skin on. Trim the leek, cut it in half lengthwise, and wash thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or sand. Roughly peel the carrot, remove the root, and cut it into large pieces.

    In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the garlic bulb, onion, and leek—all cut-side down—and cook briefly until caramelized, about 3 minutes.

    Add the wrapped cheese rinds, carrot pieces, herbs, and spices, followed by 3 liters (12 cups) of water. Everything should be mostly submerged.

    Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook the broth until it’s golden in color, stirring occasionally, and reduced by half, about 2½ hours.

    While the broth simmers, roast the squash and make the pasta. When it’s done, set aside the carrot pieces, garlic cloves, and soft parts of the onion and leek for the soup, if desired. Discard the cheese rinds, then strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve and season to taste with salt. Allow the broth to cool a bit before finishing the dish.
  2. Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the tops off the two remaining garlic bulbs crosswise to expose the cloves.

    On a slip-free cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut the very top and bottom ends off of the squash, then cut it in half crosswise where the neck meets the base. Stand each piece upright on its widest flat side and carefully slice through lengthwise from top to bottom, making sure your free hand is holding the squash in place above the knife (never near the blade). Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat the cut sides of the squash and the garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Tuck the thyme and rosemary sprigs into the crevice of the squash where the seeds used to be. Then turn the squash pieces cut-side down so the skin faces up and the herbs are hidden. Wrap each of the garlic bulbs separately in foil and place them next to the squash.

    Roast the squash and garlic for 40-45 minutes. The squash should be browned and easily pierced with a knife, and the garlic should be soft and caramelized. (If the garlic needs more time, return the bulbs to the oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.)

    While the squash roasts, make the pasta dough and the filling. Once it’s done, allow it to cool a bit, then peel off the skin or use a spoon to scoop out the flesh (you should be left with about 450 grams, or 2 cups, total). Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl. Discard the herbs.
  3. Make the pasta dough: Make the pasta dough by hand according to the well method (see my Master Pasta Dough recipe on this site that teaches you how)

    Alternatively, add the flour, eggs, and yolks to the bowl of a food processor with the steel blade attachment. Pulse together until beads of dough start to form and come together, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a flat, ideally wooden surface, bring it together and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and firm.

    Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  4. Make the filling: If the ricotta is watery, line a plate with paper towels. Spread the cheese out, cover with more paper towels and pat dry to absorb the excess moisture.

    Add the cheeses, nutmeg, and salt to a mixing bowl or a food processor and combine into a thick paste. Adjust seasoning to taste.

    Add the egg and another pinch of salt, then mix or pulse until well-combined. The filling should be soft, smooth, and spreadable. If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Make the pasta: Line a baking sheet with semolina flour or a dry dish towel and keep it nearby.

    Cut off a quarter of the pasta dough and re-wrap the remainder immediately.

    If you have a pasta machine: Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand until it’s about ¼-inch thick. Set your pasta machine to its thickest setting and roll the dough through once—it will be tapered at the ends. Fold the ends into the center like an envelope so the width of the pasta sheet is similar in width to the pasta roller. Line up the widths and roll the dough through the thickest setting once more so the result is an even rectangle.

    Continue rolling the pasta sheet through the machine once on each progressive setting until you can see your hand through it but it’s still sturdy (a bit like leather), about setting 6 or 7 on a Marcato Atlas 150 manual roller or KitchenAid attachment. If the dough is at all sticky going through the machine, dust it with a light layer of ‘00’ or all-purpose flour on both sides.
  6. If you’re rolling by hand: Roll the portion of dough with a rolling pin into as thin a square or rectangle as possible—it’s a workout! While you’re aiming for about a millimeter thick, don’t stress and do the best you can!

    Once you have a long, thin sheet of pasta, lay it on a wooden surface and trim the ends of any uneven areas, then ball up the scraps and wrap them in plastic to rehydrate. If you don’t have a wooden surface, dust some flour on the bottom of the pasta sheet and your countertop to prevent sticking.

    Fold the pasta sheet in half crosswise and cut it into two even pieces. Use a spatula to spread a thin, even layer of the filling across one of the pieces, leaving a ½-inch border of dough around all sides.

    Lay the other half of the pasta sheet on top so you’re left with a filling sandwich. Lightly press the sheet down so everything sticks together. Prick the pasta sheet all over with a fork to allow air to escape and prevent the pieces from bursting when they cook.

    Use a fluted pasta cutter (see Author Notes) to trim the edges of the pasta rectangle and firmly cut it into small squares, about the size of a postage stamp.

    Transfer the finished pieces to the baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining dough. Don’t worry if some of the pieces start to leak a little—the egg will keep the filling from escaping when they cook.
  7. Finish the dish: Add the cooled squash, roasted garlic cloves, and, if you want, the carrot and soft onion pieces from the broth to a blender. Pour in 475 milliliters (2 cups) of the cooled broth and blend until very smooth. You might need to do this in batches.

    Transfer the mixture to a large stockpot, along with the remaining 710 milliliters (3 cups) of broth. Stir to combine.

    Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and season to taste with salt, pepper, and a generous dash of nutmeg. Add the sfoglia lorda directly to the pot, making sure to shake off any excess semolina flour. Stir, then cover and cook until the pasta is al dente or to your liking, 2-3 minutes.

    While the pasta cooks, heat the clarified butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Once it starts to shimmer, add the sage leaves and fry until crisp and slightly browned, about 30 seconds. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

    Take the soup off the heat and stir in the cream. Adjust the seasoning as needed, then serve immediately, topped with the fried sage leaves and a generous amount of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Meryl Feinstein is a chef and pastaia who left the corporate world for the food industry in 2018. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, Meryl got her start at the renowned New York establishments Lilia and Misi, where she was part of the pasta production team. During that time, Meryl founded Pasta Social Club, a platform that brings people together over a shared love of food, learning, and making connections both on- and offline. She now lives in Austin, where she hosts virtual pasta-making workshops and develops recipes. Her dishes draw on her travels in Italy, ongoing research into the rich history of traditional pasta-making, and her Jewish heritage.