Recipe from Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green (Quarry Books, 2012)THIS AMUSING pasta resembles caramel candies wrapped in cellophane. The flavor and color of the squash pasta complement the sweet potato filling. To show off their candylike shape, toss the caramelle in a simple sauce of butter cooked with sage leaves until the bits of milk solids are browned and nutty and sprinkle with cheese.
1 Preheat the oven to 400‹F (200oC, or gas mark 6). Bake the sweet potatoes about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced. Remove from the oven, cool, and then peel. Mash the sweet potato with the remaining ingredients and chill in the refrigerator.
- 1 1/2 pounds (675 g) sweet potatoes, preferably firm yellow-fleshed Northern American sweet potatoes such as Hayman
- 3/4 cup (40 g) soft bread crumbs
- 2 ounces (55 g), or about 3.4 cup, grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese or Grana Padano
- 2 egg yolks
- Kosher salt, grated nutmeg, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 batch Squash Pasta Dough (see page 55) or 1 batch Three-Egg Basic Pasta Dough (see below)
- Extra flour for rolling Yield: about 2 pounds (900 g), serves 6 to 8
2 To form the caramelle, roll out the pasta dough into sheets. Cut each sheet into 21.2 x 21.2-inch (6 x 6-cm) squares using the adjustable ridged cutter.
3 Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip or a resealable freezer bag with a 3.8-inch (1-cm) opening cut from one corner. Working with about 12 squares at a time, arrange them in rows all facing the same direction. Pipe a 1-inch (2.5-cm) strip (like toothpaste) across each square, leaving a 1.4 to 1.2-inch (6 mm to 1 cm) border all around.
4 Fold up the bottom edge of the square, then overlap the top edge over the bottom for a secure joint that will prevent the filling from leaking out. Press down to seal well. (If the dough is on the dry side, brush the top edge lightly with water before folding over.)
5 Twist the 2 ends of each caramella, then pinch at the joint so that the dough is not overly thick. A completed caramella.
6 Arrange the completed caramelle on a mesh pasta drying rack or a clean cotton cloth that has been dusted lightly with semolina or cornmeal. Allow the caramelle to dry somewhat, turning them after about 30 minutes so their surface is evenly dried on all sides. Either cook the same day, refrigerate for up to two days, or freeze for another day.
Three-egg basic pasta dough
- 3/4 pound (350 g) Pasta Flour Mix (page 24), unbleached all-purpose flour, 00 flour, or Korean flour
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) tepid water
1 Mound the flour in the center of a work surface to form a flour "volcano" with a "crater" in the middle. Pour the eggs and water into the crater.
2 Using a table fork, begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim. As more flour gets incorporated, push the flour up to maintain the crater shape so the egg doesn't run out.
3 Dust the work surface lightly with flour and begin to need the dough. Keep incorporating the flour, turning the dough mass over several times while kneading so that the moinst side of the dough is exposed to the flour, encouraging the flour to be absorbed. Scrape up and discard any leftover hard bits of flour.
Squash Pasta Dough
SQUASH IS ONE of the more challenging plants to use for pasta dough as the pulp tends to keep exuding the liquid it contains, though the results are quite beautiful and perfect for fall pasta creations. (Some Italian pasta is made using the squash cooking liquid instead of water with the squash itself used as the filling.) Canned pumpkin is easier to use but duller in color. I recommend dense, hard squash such as pie pumpkin, Japanese kuri, calabaza, or butternut (see note).
- 1/2 pound (225 g) diced pie pumpkin or other dense orange squash
- 3/4 pound (350 g) Pasta Flour Mix (page 24) or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace or grated nutmeg, optional
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- Yield: about 1 1/4 pounds (565 g), serves 6 to 8
1 Steam the pumpkin either in a steaming rack placed over boiling water and covered or placed in a microwaveable bowl with about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water and microwaved until tender, about 5 minutes on high. Place the squash in a colander to drain and cool. Squeeze out excess liquid by placing the squash on a strong clean towel, rolling up and then twisting the ends. Chop the squash into small bits.you should have about 1.2 cup (120 ml) of squash left. (Save the squash juices to add to the pasta dough if it is too dry, or add to the sauce.)
2 Pour the flour into a large bowl or onto a work surface, referably wooden, and shape it into a “volcano” (A). Add the eggs and squash purée into the crater. 3 If you are making pasta in a bowl, use a large table fork to begin incorporating the flour, starting with the inner rim and working in the flour from the bottom up (B). Spin the bowl counterclockwise if you’re right-handed (clockwise if you’re left-handed) while working in the flour with the fork. If you are making pasta on a board, as more flour gets incorporated, push the flour up on the outside to maintain the crater shape so the egg doesn’t run out. If you are right-handed, beat the egg counterclockwise while using your left hand to support the outer wall of the volcano. If you are lefthanded, beat the egg clockwise while using your right hand to support the volcano.
NOTE: When paring the squash, make sure to remove both the outer layer of skin and the inner waxy layer, leaving only the tender orange-colored flesh. If using butternut, the “neck” portion is ideal for this pasta as the flesh in this part of the squash is denser and less stringy than the “bulb” portion. The precut cubes of butternut squash sold in the supermarket produce aisle work well and are easy to use.