Butternut Agnolotti

Greetings and salutations dear readers.

I have another pasta recipe from Classic Pasta at Home for your hungry eyes. This time it’s agnolotti with butternut squash filling topped with butter and sage.

I had never heard of agnolotti before making this and the best way I can describe it to you is that it is a semi circular version of ravioli. You could also say it’s like an un-folded version of tortellini as well.

What you’ll need

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 36 large fresh sage leaves

The first step is to bake your squash and to do so, pre-heat the oven to 375. While the oven is heating up, cut the squash in half lengthwise and then remove the filling. Once the seeds have been removed and discarded cut each half into 10-12 chunks. Place these chunks into a baking pan, pour the water in and then cover the pan with aluminum foil. We will then bake the squash until it is tender which will be about 40 minutes or so.

While the squash is baking, go ahead and start making your pasta by placing your flour on a clean work surface and shaping that flour into a mound. Beat three eggs and then create a well in the center of the dough. This well should be deep enough to keep the juices of the egg from seeping through which you may have guessed is where the eggs will be placed. Once those eggs are placed, carefully beat the flour into the egg until the consistency of the egg and flour is even. In other words, when the danger of egg juice spilling everywhere is no longer a threat.

Once everything is nicely mixed, knead the dough until it is no longer sticky and then cut the dough in half.

You are now ready to flatten one half of the dough with a roller. Roll the dough until it’s thin enough to go through a pasta machine roller and then roll that dough through the machine under the setting of 1 about 7-8 times.

Once that cycle is complete you can do the same to your remaining dough half as well.

Hopefully 40 minutes went by while you were making your pasta and you can go back to making the filling by removing the squash from the oven and allowing it to cool. As it cools, go ahead and mix one egg, the breadcrumbs, and 1/3 a cup of Parmesan cheese together. Check back on your squash. If it’s cooled enough, go ahead and scoop out the filling to purée in a food processor. Once it’s smoothly puréed you can add it to the cheese/egg mixture. Top this mixture off with nutmeg and salt to your liking.

Let’s check up on that pasta again. We are now ready to create or agnolotti shape. This is simple enough, just get a round cookie cutter and circle out the dough. Once you’ve got your circles, add 1/2 a teaspoon of filling in each circle and then fold. Seal the edges by rubbing a tiny bit of water. This will help it stick.

Once every agnolotti has been filled and shaped, allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.

During this time, go ahead a prepare your boiling pot by filling it with water and well boiling. As the water boils, get a sauté pan and melt your butter with the olive oil. Once the butter has melted, lower the heat to low and add the sage leaves. Cook until they become crisp, which is about 7-8 minutes. Remove the sage and allow it to drain on some paper towels.

Keep the oil butter in your pan though, we will be mixing that with the pasta later.

Hopefully by now the water is boiling and if so, go ahead and add the pasta in. Be sure to stir it in gently.

This process should take only two minutes and once those two minutes are up, again carefully remove the pasta from the water. The cookbook recommends using a large sieve. I do not have one, so I just very carefully poured the water out into a colander.

Once the water is drained, add your pasta to a large serving bowl and then pour in that butter oil along with some salt and pepper. Coat by gently tossing and then add 1/2 cup of Parmesan and the sage for some more tossing.

You should know have warm buttery pasta to consume like below.

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I was proud of myself with this recipe. As some of you know, I’ve had some mis-haps with making my own pasta, but I believe I’m getting better at.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot of work for me, but I have high hopes that I’m getting closer to having this process become smoother and more streamlined.

As far as the taste of this particular pasta, never underestimate the power of sage and butter my friends. It’s quite the dynamic duo. The sage has an intense earthy flavor with a touch of bitterness and the butter just makes the bitterness melt like putty. It’s like cream with a kick.

The butternut squash filling is so good that I ended up eating my leftover filling as a side dish for lunch. It looked like baby food but it tasted like dessert my friends.

Combine these elements together and you get quite the meal. So go ahead and try it out, it will not be one of many regrets in your life. I promise.

 

 

A Fool’s Angst

I made the mistake of cracking open my high school journal last night.

Why did I do this?

Well, I saw an ad for a comedy show where you read embarrassing exerts from teenage angst ridden journals.

My reaction was, “Oooh I possibly have comedic material!”

I know I got some material in there, but I had to stop after the first few entries cause they were the embodiment of Smashing Pumpkins’ Melancholy and Infinite Sadness.

Let me give you a prologue.

When I was young I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. My siblings were not close in age to me and neither were my cousins who were also older. I was the baby on both sides of my family.

This forced me to be a bit precocious which made me real popular with adults, but not so much kids my age. I struggled with making friends.

Fast forward to my teen years and that feeling stuck around. I didn’t relate to most girls my age and the boys my age liked me, but because I was a girl…well let’s just say you can’t join the boy scout’s club if you don’t have the right equipment.

Not gonna win any literal pissing contests I’ll tell you that much.

So here I am, this precocious girl of 13 who happens to befriend an older German exchange student. She not only likes me, but thinks I’m awesome. A year or two later, she sets up her little sister to stay with my parents and me.

I was thrilled. I was going to learn so much about Germany and have a cool female friend! I couldn’t wait.

Then the day came to pick her up from the airport. My family and I were anxiously waiting at the German girl’s gate.

Back then you could wait at the gate for people, I know, 1999 was a crazy time.

Now I want you to picture this 15 year old girl who is nerdy and slightly chubby and who has never had a real boyfriend, never been kissed and will never know how much in common she had with Tina Belcher because Bob’s Burgers didn’t exist yet.

See this girl go from a radiant smile to sudden panic as she sees this tall, thin, beautiful blue eyed girl walk into her view.

She instantly feels less than and she tries to brush it off because she already knows she’s just feeling insecure and it wasn’t fair to not give this girl whose older sister she loved a chance just because she felt ugly in her presence.

So, time passed and as much as she fought those insecurities it got worse and worse. It felt like this girl did everything better than her and that everyone liked her more.

Boys seemed to fall instantly in love with her while the chubby girl just felt invisible.

The chubby nerdy girl wanted so much to be seen and to be liked, but she felt only her parents did and even that seemed to be slipping away from her with the seemingly perfect girl staying at her house.

All of that is documented in the first pages of my high school journal.

I can still feel the pain of rejection when I read it. I cried a little. I wanted so much to hug 15 year old version of me.

I’m not ugly anymore. I never was to begin with, but as I grew older I did become more attractive in regards to society’s standards. I’m still not a thin blue eyed girl, but I’ve got other things going for me.

Yet some days I still feel ugly, fat, and unlikable. It’s exhausting to feel that way.

This isn’t my point, though. My point is that as much pain as I felt back then, I’m proud of how it made me stronger and more empathetic to anyone I ever sensed could even possibly be jealous of me.

German girl was not kind about my jealousy. She rubbed it in my face as often as she could and this is a major reason why it matters so much to me to diffuse jealousy when I sense it from others. I know that pain too well.

I wish everyone would extend that same kindness, but not everyone does.

In the end there’s no point in dwelling on my disappointment of others. I can only control myself and remember to be kind.

I urge all of you to do the same.