For some reason, ravioli are called tortelli in Emilia-Romagna and parts of lower Lombardy. The most famous are those of Cremona, and there are many variations in the fillings. Here, though, is the most classic recipe. It is a typical Christmas dish, but people love it throughout the whole winter when the wonderfully thick-fleshed, orange-red pumpkin, which can also be bought in pieces, is available.
- 1.3kg (3 lb) pumpkin
- Basic Pasta, made with 2 eggs and 200g (7 oz) 00 pasta flour
- 2 or 3 whole eggs, beaten, depending on pumpkin
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) dried breadcrumbs
- 4 amaretti biscuits, crumbled
- Salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- It is best to steam the pumpkin until soft, depending on its thickness. You can also put it in a pan with very little water. My mother used to bake it in the oven. The object is to have the pumpkin cooked but not very wet. Remove the skin from the flesh into a cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Reduce the fleshy pulp to a mash with a fork, and add the eggs, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, amaretti biscuits and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Amalgamate all this to obtain quite a consistent and solid paste.
- Roll the pasta dough out into long sheets and spread out on a work surface sprinkled with flour. Put teaspoons of the mixture on one of a pair of pasta sheets at 2-3 cm (3/4-1 1/4 inch) intervals. Lay another pasta sheet on top to cover the filling and press down all around to stick the pasta together. Cut the ravioli into squares with a serrated pasta wheel and set aside.
- Plunge the ravioli into slightly salted boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Scoop them out and place in a warmed dish. Cover with melted butter and Parmesan cheese, and serve.