Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sage tagliatelle with roast pumpkin & stilton

This began life, like the majority of my cooking, as a dish imagined in my mind as I pondered my ingredients, the weather, my mood and the occasion…..In this case the evolution of a recipe took place over many months as I watched my pumpkins grow and ripen over the summer. I was planning to make tortellini, little stuffed pasta shapes with a filling of stilton and roasted pumpkin. Indeed that’s what I started making, but as I was began working my pasta dough it stuck me as how dreadfully wasteful it was to cut, roll and shape tortellini. I glanced at the chickens and felt bad about wasting their precious eggs and realised it is simply not right in this day and age to throw out a third of my dough as I trimmed the pasta shapes. So I stopped and had a rethink. This, then, is the deconstructed version and utterly delicious it was too, filling and deeply savoury. 
Whilst I love dried pasta and use it all the time, but the beauty of making your own is the way you can embellish it with herbs, spices and flavourings. I can honestly say it is not something I do very often but it does make a great rainy Saturday afternoon activity that the kids love to get involved in. 
Serves 4, generously
for the pasta:
400g ‘OO’ pasta flour
4 large eggs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper 
Sage leaves - a loose handful (about 5g of leaves, no stalks), finely chopped
for the pumpkin:
1 kg pumpkin (or squash) chopped into 1-2cm cubes
1 large red onion, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil 
Sage leaves - a loose handful (about 5g of leaves, no stalks), roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, whole & unpeeled
350g Stilton, crumbled 
to finish:
60g unsalted butter
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Pasta dough can be made either by hand, in a food processor or the way I tend to do it; in a food mixer with a dough hook. By hand, add the flour to a large bowl, break in the eggs and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix together with a wooden spoon until you have a rough dough, then tip onto the work surface and knead for a few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. 

If using a processor simply add all the ingredients to a bowl and pulse until you have a rough dough, then tip onto the worktop and knead.  In a food mixer, you add all the ingredients and let the dough hook do the mixing and kneading for you.  Whichever way you make it it is important to let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you roll it as this allows it to relax and become more workable. It will keep happily, well wrapped, in the fridge for a couple of days if you want to make it in advance.

The easiest way to roll your pasta is to use a pasta machine. Cut the dough into quarters and feed each piece through the rollers, reducing the setting on the machine to roll it thinner and thinner. Once you have a thin sheet, cover it loosely with cling film and continue with the other pieces. You can also shape your dough into sheets with a rolling pin and a bit of elbow grease. Cut the sheets into tagliatelle, either rustically by hand, or as I did by using ribbon cutter on my machine. Hang the ribbons over a coat hook and leave to dry a little while you cook the pumpkin.

In a large roasting tin toss the the pumpkin (or squash) and red onion in the olive oil and season generously with freshly ground black pepper and a little salt.  Stir through the sage, tuck in the cloves of garlic and roast at 180°C for around 25 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and caramelizing at the edges. 

Turn off the oven, fish out the garlic cloves and set aside. Sprinkle the crumbled stilton over the roast vegetables and return to the oven so the cheese gently melts whilst you 
cook the pasta and and make the butter sauce. 

Set a large pan of salted water to boil for the cooking the pasta. Once it is vigorously boiling lower in the tagliatelle and cook until al dente - around 3-4 minutes. Drain and return the pan.
To make the sauce, add the butter to a small heavy based frying pan and melt. Allow it to bubble over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until it has turned a nutty golden brown, taking care it doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat. Peel the roast garlic and squidge to a puree with the flat of a knife and mix into the butter. Pour over the pasta and toss until it is coated all over.
Serve the pasta in wide bowls topped with the squash and melted stilton and stir though as you eat. 


  1. You inspire me to have another go at making pasta! My one attempt using the pasta attachment on the Kenwood reminded me of a Laurel and Hardy short, the pasta stuck together again as soon as it came out of the attachment. I think I might put a pasta machine on my birthday wish list. The sauce sounds particularly delicious, squidgy roast garlic, butter, mmm - I love it !

  2. Thanks Joanna!! Pasta can indeed be a comedy of errors, especially when the kids get involved.... never tried one of those electric mixer attachments but I imagine its hard to retain control of the process. At least with an old fashioned mangle type roller you can stop or start as you need to to. And they are not too expensive - around £25 I think, last forever provided you never let them get near water.

    Hope you have a go one day!

  3. Filled pasta I struggle with but love making fresh so this decontructed version with some of my favourite flavours is right up my street.

  4. Filled pasta is great, but such a faff & wasteful too. Hope you might have a go at this one! G