I found this recipe in a Gourmet Traveller Italian Cookbook and my daughter encouraged me to make it.

It was an all day process as it involves making the fresh pasta by hand and filling it with two fillings that also have to be prepared. The final touch is the sage and butter sauce. When the Italians make a meal like this it is often a community thing where women get together and make enough pasta for all their families. As the expression goes “Many hands make light work”. Unfortunately I was on my own so I had a bit of a marathon in the kitchen.

Pasta has a very interesting history. The origins are the cause for much speculation. Without going into it too much, it is mostly agreed that the Arabs influenced the Sicilians and pasta was born out of the collaboration. Dry Pasta has a law passed in Italy that ensures that it is only made from Durum wheat. However fresh pasts can be made with eggs and different flours.

Caramelle pasta comes from the Parma region and is so called because of it’s similar look to a caramel or bon bon. It is a pasta that would be made for special celebrations and each family would have a it’s own secret variation.

Recipe

Serves six

Fresh Pasta Ingredients

400 grams of 00 flour plus extra for dusting

4 eggs.

Process ingredients and a pinch of salt in a food processor until dough comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (3-5 mins) Wrap in plastic and rest at room temperature for an hour. Then divide into four pieces and feed through pasta machine rollers starting with the widest and ending up around a 7 or until about 3mm thick.

Ingredients for Fillings and Sauce

100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
¼ bunch sage leaves
To serve: finely grated parmesan
Pasta dough
200 gm plain flour
2 eggs
Ricotta and spinach filling
75 gm each of English spinach leaves and wild greens
100 gm ricotta
20 gm (1/3 cup) finely grated parmesan
1 egg yolk
To taste: finely grated nutmeg
Beetroot filling
200 gm roasted beetroot, puréed
100 gm goat’s cheese
50 gm ricotta
20 gm finely grated parmesan

For ricotta and spinach filling, steam spinach and wild greens until wilted, then drain and squeeze out water. Finely chop and transfer to a bowl. Add ricotta, parmesan, egg yolk and season to taste with nutmeg, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For beetroot filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.

Place a tablespoon of each, alternating the ricotta and wild greens and beetroot fillings, among each piece of pasta. Delicately roll the long edge of the pasta over the filling and gently pinch the ends so it looks like a lolly or bonbon.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook in batches until al dente (3-4 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a warm, lightly oiled bowl.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large frying pan over low-medium heat, add sage and cook for 2 minutes. Add drained pasta and cook until pasta and butter are browned (2-3 minutes). Serve immediately, with parmesan.

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