Sweet Potato Tortellini with Sage Brown Butter

homemade sweet potato tortellini
This pasta is a yearly tradition that Matt generally does at the beginning of the fall season.  The classic combination of roasted pumpkin and sage is glorified with browned butter and served simply with a shaving of fresh Parmesan and a side of crusty bread.  This year, we dipped into the all-encompassing guide to Italian cooking, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan, for the recipe for the filling, which actually called for sweet potato instead of pumpkin (you can literally not taste the difference and the texture was great).  We also use her recipe for our pasta dough and it is velvety and amazing every time.  Making pasta from scratch is time consuming, but as we often do on the weekends, we incorporate the process of making the meal into our entertainment as well as our dinner.  I’ve included step by step photos of how to cut and fill the dough and for rolling it out, we have this hand-crank pasta machine.  It works great because I don’t feel like I can ever get pasta thin enough just rolling it out by hand.  I’m no Italian grandmother.

Also, just an FYI to the few of you who subscribe to this blog:  I’m due kind of any day, now.  So, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, my posts have been waning at the end of this pregnancy, and when I have the baby, I’ll either drop off the face of the planet entirely for a few months, or have a ton of random pockets of time to do posts – I just don’t know how it’ll turn out!  But I’m thinking the former is more likely.  So I pray you are all here when I return!  And hey – when I return, I’ll be nearing the baby food making phase, again, and that may end up being great material for Family Meal posts, anyway!  Stay tuned…and a few prayers would be nice, too. 😉

cutting pasta
After rolling out the dough, for tortellini, cut into about 1.5″ squares.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and a good pizza cutter makes it super easy.
piping out tortellini filling
Pipe out the filling by teaspoons using a simple ziplock bag with one of it’s bottom tips cut off.  Using a serrated knife to lop off the portions helps tremendously so your hands don’t get all gunky.

folding tortellini
Wet the edges of the square with your finger dipped in water and fold one corner over to meet the other.  As you can tell, this particular one was not so “square.”

 

forming tortellini 2
Then, fold the opposite corner up, dotting with water to seal it.
forming pasta 2
Wrap one of the other corners over your finger, and making sure your other corner is wet, bring it up and seal on top of the corner draped over your finger.
forming pasta
Voila – you have a tortellini.  Now – do this 100 more times till you’re done with all of them, laying the finished pasta on a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with flour to keep them from sticking together.  Use parchment to separate layers of tortellini until you’re ready to boil.

 

forming tortellini

sweet potato tortellini

Sweet Potato Tortellini with Sage Browned Butter Sauce

For the Filling:

1 3/4 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (so really, yams if you can find them)
A pair of Italian amaretti cookies (I’ve only found these at World Market.  I have a huge bag if you need a couple.  Just swing by.)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons chopped prosciutto
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
whole nutmeg
salt

For the Pasta:  

*this is a great site and nearly the exact recipe we used.  He just gives so much great instruction and homemade pasta could be its own post entirely, so follow his steps and then continue on with rolling it out into tortellini as pictured in my post here.

For the Sauce:

5 tbs unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, roughly chopped and a few left whole

Instructions for the filling:

Preheat oven to 450F.  Bake the potatoes in the middle of the oven.  After 20 minutes turn the temp down to 400F and cook for another 35-40 min until potatoes are very tender when prodded with a fork. Turn off the oven. Split the potatoes in half lengthwise and return the potatoes to the oven, cut side up, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.  Remove after 10 minutes.  This helps dry out the potatoes some.

Peel the potatoes and scoop the flesh into a food processor.  Add the cookies, egg yolk, proscuitto, Parmesan, parsley a grating of nutmeg and about a teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth.  Adjust taste with salt.

Use this filling to fill your pasta and boil the formed pasta in salty water for 10 minutes, or until they’re al dente.  We take one out around 5 minutes and test it and we usually let it cook a little longer.  Remove pasta from water and keep it in a bowl with a splash of pasta water to keep it all from sticking together.  If it sticks, more pasta water should loosen them up.

For the sauce: over medium heat in a large saucepan, heat the butter until it stops foaming and brown solids begin to form.  Careful to not burn!  As soon as foaming starts to subside, add in the sage leaves and swirl them around to crisp them up.  Continue letting the butter brown until fragrant.  Spoon browned butter and sage leaves over the pasta, top with a grating of Parmesan and serve!