Okay, we’re starting off a multi-day series for a meal. Partly because each can stand on its own, and partly because we need a few easy posts to get back into the groove of writing up our dinners. We also like adding suspense to the mix. You won’t know until Friday how this all comes together into a meal. Sure, from the post title, you know that we’re making a filled pasta, but what about the rest?
This is based loosely on a recipe we found in Crossroads, by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones, and Serafina Magnussen, but we changed it a bit. We really wanted to accentuate the idea of fall, so we added sage to the acorn squash filling. They also used their filling to make ravioli, but we went with a new and different (to us) shape. You’ll see that tomorrow.
Any winter squash will work here, so don’t sweat getting acorn squash and only acorn squash. When you’re scooping out the messy pulp, make sure to keep the seeds; while we don’t have it posted yet, we’ll be making something from the squash seeds for our dinner.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a baking dish big enough to hold the two halves of squash, cut side down.
Oil squash. Rub the cut side and insides of the squash with a bit of olive oil. This will help transfer heat to the squash and hold some of the moisture inside. If you wish, you can sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the squash, too. Place the halves in the baking dish, cut side down.
Bake squash. Place the squash in the oven and bake until soft and tender. The squash may have even collapsed a bit at this point, and the squash meat should be pulling away from the skin. Remove from the oven and cool until you can handle them without getting burned.
Fry onions and garlic. While the squash is baking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. With all the butter, the garlic shouldn’t burn, but do watch it. When everything is tender, stir in the sage and nutmeg and remove from heat.
Process. Scrape the squash flesh into the bowl of a food processor and add the onion mixture. Process until smooth, then add the vinegar and process to incorporate.
Season. Taste the mixture and add red pepper and salt and pepper, as needed, processing to incorporate and tasting as you work. The mixture should be stiff enough that it doesn’t slump when stirred. If it does, add some bread crumbs to thicken. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 3/8 inch tip and refrigerate until you’re ready to fill your pasta. If you don’t have a piping bag, simply transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
While we won’t show you the new pasta shape until tomorrow, you can check out some of our other filled pasta shapes by clicking here (you’ll see all our pasta shaping tutorials).
This pasta filling is great, with a slightly sweet taste, nicely accented by the sage. It does fit in very well for a fall dish, but we will say that it’s a mild filling, so don’t overpower the flavor with a strong sauce. We’ll show you our sauce later this week, but, until then, we can say this is a five-star filling.