A child-friendly recipe from Jenny Chandler
Now this might seem a rather ambitious recipe to start off my Kids in the kitchen series, but you can follow the super quick cheat’s version if you’re looking for an easy life. Children love all the cutting and shaping of the pasta and who cares if you end up with some rather interesting shapes? So, depending on how much time you have, how old your child is and their attention span, it’s up to you when to get them involved. I’d probably start out with them just making the little parcels for the filling, but kneading the dough can work off some excess energy too.
For the fresh pasta:
300g 00 Italian flour
3 medium eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
A pinch of fine sea salt
For the filling:
About 1½kg of pumpkin or squash, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
100g parmesan (good sous chef job), grated
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Place the flour in a pile on the work surface and then make a large well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the centre, add the oil and beat with a fork until smooth.
Gradually bring in all the flour until you have a firm and not-too-sticky dough. Knead until the pasta is silky smooth—about 5 mins. Wrap the pasta in cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 mins in the fridge.
Now make the filling. Chop up the pumpkin and lay it on a tray. Toss with the olive oil and roast in a hot oven (about 200C ) until tender and beginning to caramelise.
Mash or puree the pumpkin to a paste and season with parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Now make the pasta. If you have a pasta machine, cranking that handle round can be great fun for the kids. You want to get the pasta down to the penultimate thickness, so divide the dough into 3 and roll it through the machine from the widest setting through to the finer settings (rolling it twice through each setting does give a better result).
Once the pasta is rolled thinly—and this is just as possible with a rolling pin and plenty of elbow grease—it’s time to make the little parcels.
You want a long rectangle of pasta about 15-20cm wide. The easiest way is to blob the filling in spoonfuls at 10cm intervals along the length of your pasta, fold it over and then press the pasta together around the filling expelling as much air as possible.
Cut the pasta into squares using a knife, or much more fun and child friendly, a ravioli cutter. Place on a floured tray until ready to cook.
Simmer in salted water for about 5 mins and serve with hot melted butter, fresh sage and plenty of parmesan.
ALTERNATIVE: Looking for a short cut? Put all the pasta ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have something resembling sticky breadcrumbs. Pull into a ball, knead and then rest as above.
If you’ve no time to make ravioli, just make the pumpkin filling and then cook squares of homemade (so there’s still a chance for some handle cranking) or bought fresh pasta. Layer the pasta with the filling as if you were piling up a sandwich and pour over the sauce. You’ve just made classic ‘fazzoletti’ (hankerchiefs).
Recipe: Jenny Chandler