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Tagliatelle with dried porcini and a seasonal pesto
Two recipes for an early autumn Sunday: tagliatelle with dried porcini mushrooms in the dough and a seasonal roasted squash, walnut, and sage pesto
If I say autumn, which flavours come to your mind? I associate the early days of the fall season with squash, porcini mushrooms, and a return of nuts and more intense herbs, such as sage and rosemary, that are finally taking the place of basil, which dominated the summer without any competition among tomatoes, pesto, and quick pasta bowls.
Autumn is also the time when quick dishes, often based on just combining fresh, seasonal ingredients on a plate, give way to more thought-out recipes with a few extra steps (but just a few, I promise).
So, I’m taking the chance of this first autumn-tinged newsletter to share a new recipe we developed in collaboration with Unicoop Tirreno.
The only requirement was that it be an autumn recipe made with the fresh, seasonal produce that you could find at the local Coop supermarket. It was easy to spot one of the first Delica squashes in the fruit and vegetable department, where you can find many products selected on the basis of seasonality and local excellence.
Next to the pumpkin, I lined up all the other ingredients that for me represent autumn in the kitchen: walnuts, porcini mushrooms, and sage.
If these are my ingredients for today's recipe, those that define Coop products are quality, transparency, convenience, and safety.
What would you make with these ingredients? A risotto? A pasta dish? Or maybe a soup, since autumn is just the best season for that? Share your ideas in the comments!
Now I'll tell you what I made with those ingredients.
Dried porcini mushroom tagliatelle with roasted squash and walnut pesto
In cooperation with Unicoop Tirreno
Looking at this dish, though, it actually consists of two recipes that go very well together.
On the one hand, we have tagliatelle with dried porcini mushrooms in the pasta dough.
Tried them several times in cooking classes, these rough, rustic-looking tagliatelle hide a secret: a handful of dried porcini mushrooms blended into a powder and kneaded into the flour and egg dough, which give an intense autumn aroma to the pasta.
Compared to the classic tagliatelle recipe (2 eggs and 200 grams of flour), as you will see, there is also water to compensate for the water that had been extracted from the porcini when they were dried. Add it slowly as needed.
These tagliatelle can be dressed with a fresh porcini sauce for a quintessentially autumn dish, or, as I did today, with a seasonal pesto.
Roasted squash, walnut, and sage pesto
I had been thinking about this pesto for a while. I imagined the texture, rustic and not too creamy. I was looking for a perfect balance between the sweetness of the roasted squash and the more intense flavour, tending towards bitterness, of walnuts and sage. The savouriness of the grated pecorino romano added what was missing.
This pesto will keep in the fridge for a few days, covered in oil, and is just as good for a midweek dinner wholemeal spaghetti bowl, as it is for today's tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms, perfect for one of these early autumn Sundays.
Here, then, is the recipe. If the tagliatelle makes a first course for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people), the pesto will be enough for two meals.
If you need to print this recipe to keep it in your kitchen and use for scribbling down your notes, you find the printable PDF below and you can print just odd pages to avoid photos and save ink.
Serves 4 as a first course
For the tagliatelle
25 g | 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
150 g | 1¼ cups 0 flour (or all-purpose)
50 g | ⅓ cup semolina flour
30 ml | 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch fine sea salt
For the roasted squash
Half of a small Delica squash, about 500 g/1 lb
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
Fresh sage leaves
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted squash pesto
80 g | 2¾ oz | ¾ cup shelled walnuts
20 g fresh sage leaves
150 g | 5¼ oz roasted pumpkin pulp
80 ml | ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
60 g | ⅔ cup grated pecorino romano
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To finish the dish
160 g | 5⅔ oz Delica squash, peeled and diced
Extra virgin olive oil
A few fresh sage leaves
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Roast the squash.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
Arrange the halved squash cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle it with two tablespoons of olive oil, add the garlic and sage leaves, and then season with salt and pepper.
Cook the squash for about an hour, until it is golden and so soft that it can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool.
While the squash is roasting, make tagliatelle
Blend the dried porcini mushrooms in a spice grinder or blender until reduced to a powder.
Sift the all-purpose flour with the semolina flour, pour them on a wooden board or a large working surface, and make a well in the centre.
Break in the eggs, add the porcini mushroom powder, the olive oil, and a good pinch of salt.
Mix the flour and the eggs and porcini powder with a fork until crumbly, then knead the dough, gradually adding the water. Keep on kneading, more and more, as to develop the gluten which will give strength to the sheets of pasta. Just do as when you knead the bread: hold it with one hand while you roll it from you with the other, with the heel of the palm.
After a while, the dough should have the right consistency: smooth, velvety and no longer sticky.
Cover with a bowl and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
After this time, roll the dough. Whether you’re using a classic long rolling pin or a pasta machine, the most important thing is to roll it over and over again, rolling and stretching it as much as you can.
Make a paper-thin wide sheet of pasta.
Leave the pasta sheets for about 10 minutes on a tablecloth dusted with semolina flour.
Cut the pasta into 1 cm wide strips with the pasta machine or by hand, rolling the sheets up and cutting them with a sharp knife across intro strips.
Spread them all out on a cloth and leave them there until you want to cook them.
Now make the roasted squash pesto.
Blend the walnuts with the sage leaves: you should obtain neither a paste nor crumbs that are too coarse. At this point, the pesto is very reminiscent of grated Parmigiano Reggiano in its consistency.
Add the roasted squash pulp and the garlic, without the outer skin, to the walnuts and sage. Mix well, finally incorporating the oil and grated pecorino cheese. Adjust with salt and pepper. It will be a rather thick pesto, which you can then dilute to season the tagliatelle with the pasta cooking water.
Cook the tagliatelle.
Sauté the diced squash in a pan with olive oil and sage over medium heat for about ten minutes, until it is cooked through and golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, season with salt, and cook the tagliatelle al dente, for just a few minutes.
Pour the walnut and pumpkin pesto into a bowl, and dilute it with some of the pasta cooking water.
Drain the pasta and toss it with the squash and walnut pesto. Serve immediately topped with the squash cubes and more cheese.
If you make this recipe, share it via email and send me a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Social Media using the hashtags #myseasonaltable #julskitchen and #lettersfromtuscany, and tag @julskitchen
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