California Central Coast Recipes
Cappallacci de Zucca with Butter-Walnut Sage Sauce.
This is a homemade pasta called a "Cappallacci" (which means ugly hat) filled with roasted sweet squash like Buttercup or Japanese "Kabocha" and nutmeg filling, served with a light butter- walnut and sage sauce. This is one of our favorite recipes!!!
A few years ago, the Paso Robles Italian restaurant (Alloro) offered a delicious version of this dish -which I adored. However the restaurant only lasted a couple of years, then went out of business. Since then I've been searching for that much loved-taste, but no other place has quite offered a dish that had the same satisfying taste, so I began making my own. I'm pretty pleased with this recipe-hope that you like it as well.
Preparation time: 1 hour Cooking time: 5 minutes
3 pounds Sweet Squash like Buttercup or Kabocha
3 ounces Domestic Parmesan Type Cheese , grated
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper , to taste
1 Tablespoons sugar
1 Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand or Fresh Egg Pasta by Machine
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoons water
20 Fresh Sage Leaves
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
1/2 cup Flour in a dish or shallow bowl
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 Tablespoons Unsalted butter
2/3 c walnuts , finely chopped
1/4 cup heaping fresh sage , chopped
1 Pre-heat the oven to 350F
2 Cut the squash in half length-wise. Remove the seeds (in some squash they are bitter).
3 Place the squash cut side down in a foil lined roasting pan and place in the center of the oven.
4 Bake the squash for 40 to 50 minutes until the flesh is soft and cooked. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool.
5 Scrape out the cooked flesh of the squash, then either using a food mill or a food processor puree the flesh to smooth paste. Taste the squash paste. It should be slightly sweet, if not to your liking, you can add the optional 1 tablespoon of sugar.
6 Stir in the grated cheese, the nutmeg and a few grinds of pepper for a bit of zest.
7 Beat the egg with the tablespoon of water.
8 Roll out the pasta into as thin a sheet as you can. Cut the pasta into 4 or 5 inch squares.
9 Arranging a square with one end pointing up like a diamond, place a generous spoonful of filling (a ball of 1-1/4 diameter) on slightly off center towards the top edge.
10 With a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the sheet with the beaten edge, then fold the lower portion of the sheet over the top of the filling to form a triangle. Gently press the sides of the triangle down along the sides of the filling to remove any air. You do not want to squeeze out the filling.
11 Lightly brush the left and right edges of the triangle then gently fold the edges up on top of the center of the pasta. Be careful not to press too hard since this will cause the final pasta to have a tough knot at the joint.
12 Soak the sage leaves in the dry wine for 5 minutes. Remove the leaves from wine, shake off the excess, then dust the leaves with flour.
13 Heat the Olive Oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When hot - but not smoking! drop the flour dusted sage leaves in to the sauce pan and saute the leaves for a few minutes until they are crisp and slightly browned. Don't over cook the sage leaves or they will loose all their taste.
14 Remove the sage leaves from the pan, and place on a paper towel or napkin to drain.
15 To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add walnuts. mix well. Add the chopped sage, mix well and simmer for a few minutes over low heat.
16 Cook the Cappallacci in a large pot of salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes depending upon the thickness of the pasta and the amount of filling. Do not try to drain the pasta, it is better to lift the pasta out of the water with a slotted spoon.
17 Place four or five Cappallaccci on heated plate, spoon the sauce over Cappallacci and garnish with the sauted sage leaves. Serve immediately with a little grated Parmesan cheese on top.
This is really a delicate pasta and goes best with a simple non-oaked white wine like a Fume Blanc or a Sauvignon Blanc with fruity overtones. A "little" sweetness in the wine will complement the sweetness of the squash.
A little more dramatic choice would be a Rhone style Rose wine.