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Taste of Europe: Pegs Quinn’s pumpkin pansotti

Few other vegetarian dishes provide such comfort on a winter’s day as this one, says JOSH BARRIE

Pegs Quinn's pumpkin pansotti

Bristol is full of excellent independent restaurants and Sonny Stores is one of them. It’s a small, Italian-inspired place in Bedminster, with a daily changing menu and rave reviews. Recent dishes include John Dory in chicken stock and butter; pizzetta with anchovies, potatoes and lardo; and rabbit with milk and pancetta. The neighbourhood is lucky to have these things to eat.

Throughout January, Pegs Quinn, the head chef, who runs Sonny Stores alongside his wife Mary Glynn, has been sharing recipes online. He writes: “To keep the January blues at bay, all month we are going to be sharing some of our favourite seasonal dishes. Each week we will share a recipe which you can either make at home, or you can book in to eat it with us.” I strongly advise you to do both.

Start with Pegs’ pumpkin pansotti, a delicate, luscious dish where plump pasta parcels slide around in butter. There’s a lot of squash around – the
delica variety is all the rage right now – and it marries lovingly with mascarpone and is cheered on by chilli and pecorino cheese. I can think of few other vegetarian dishes that provide such comfort on a winter’s day. And, perhaps more importantly, if you nail this dish (you will need a pasta machine to do so), you will impress anyone who comes round.

PUMPKIN PANSOTTI

SERVES FOUR (You will need a pasta machine)

FILLING:

600g pumpkin. A good, sweet dense variety
100g pecorino cheese
60g mascarpone
Olive oil
Ground chilli (a pinch; up to you)
Salt and pepper

PASTA:

300g pasta flour
3 whole eggs plus 3 eggs yolks (best you can get)
Cold water (in a spray bottle)

TO SERVE:

70g unsalted butter
Grated pecorino
8 sage leaves
The best olive oil you can afford

PUMPKIN PREP:

Preheat the oven to 210C. Peel, de-seed and chop pumpkin into 4cm chunks.
Season with salt, pepper, chilli, and coat in olive oil. Cover with tinfoil and roast for approx. 15 mins or until soft.
Remove tinfoil and continue to roast for 10 mins to char skin. Leave to cool

PASTA MAKING:

Mix flour and eggs (in a food processor if you have one) to make smooth, pliable dough. The dough should spring back when you press your thumb into it – it needs to be soft enough to go through the pasta rollers but firm enough not to stick.
Add a tablespoon of cold water if it’s a little too stiff. Wrap your dough in cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins

FOR THE FILLING:

Mash the pumpkin with a fork. Add the mascarpone, pecorino, and salt and pepper to taste

ROLLING THE PASTA:

Set up your pasta machine and dust your work surface with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out your dough until it’s long and thin.
Pasta machine settings vary but an approximate guide to where you should set yours is 10. The pasta should glide through your machine’s widest capacity.
Roll your dough through the machine and repeat the process, moving the setting down by one each time until you get to 3 (so, seven times).
After the final roll, take your pasta strip and do a book fold: working from one end, fold 5cm-worth of dough at a time back onto the length of pasta, repeating until you’re left with one layered rectangle of dough that is around 7cm wide.
Spin your rectangle of dough 90 degrees, and repeat steps 2-4 twice more – remember to spin your book-folded rectangle 90 degrees each time to create the best structure!
For your dough’s final go through the machine, take the setting down to two, or the thinnest setting.
Cut your final pasta length in half and lay both down on a floured surface. 3cm from the end of one length, place a half-tablespoon blob of pumpkin filling, making sure it’s in the middle, and repeat every 6cm.
Wet the bottom half of the pasta sheet using a pastry brush to act as glue and fold the top layer over to seal. Use your fingers to gently press out all the air in the pockets and run along the sheet to make sure.
Repeat this process on the second strip of pasta. Use a round cookie-cutter (approx. 6cm across) and use the top half to cut out each pansotti parcel into half-moon shapes

COOKING AND PLATING:

Get a large pan of salted water onto a rolling boil.
Drop your pansotti into the water and boil for two mins,
While the pasta is boiling, melt 75g of unsalted butter in a pan with 5 sage leaves, salt, pepper, and a ladle of pasta water, and bring to the boil and then turn off.
Use a slotted spoon to pass the pasta into the buttery sage emulsion.
Plate the pasta and spoon over the sauce. Finish with grated pecorino and the best olive oil!

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