While I had the pleasure of visiting the historic city of Baltimore for work training, there was no way I was going to miss out on the Italian food I had read about. Like any foodie, I did a little online research about the best, most unique restaurant experiences in the city. During my first night I dined at a charming Italian restaurant called Sotto Sopra, which is situated across the street from the first Roman Catholic Church that was built in the United States. How’s that for a little Italian American history? 🙂
From the moment those beautiful little pasta purses melted on my tongue, I knew it was going to be the next recipe I try to recreate.
I don’t think I will be able to quite perfectly replicate his cream sauce, but here is my best shot 🙂 This is an impressive dish any foodie will be sure to love. What I love so much about it is the layers of flavor combinations that is typical to what you would see in Northern Italy.
- 1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree, no additives
- 2 extra large eggs
- 2 cups 00 Flour plus more for dusting the surface
- 2 tbsp. Semolina Flour
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg
- Sea salt
- 1 egg white -for the egg wash
- 4 oz. organic pumpkin puree
- 4 oz. ricotta
- 1/2 -3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp. good quality EVOO
- White Pepper – 1/2 tsp.
- 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 cup Organic Flour
- 3 cups Whole Milk
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg//about 1/2 tsp.
- Good Quality Italian Sausage, spicy if you prefer, casings removed
- Amaretti Cookies Crumbled, about 1/8 cup
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- 6 Amaretti Italian Cookies-crumbled
For the dough:
Flour a large surface or wood board well. Combine the flour, nutmeg and salt and form in a big well in the middle of the board. Place the eggs and pumpkin in the center. With a fork, slowly break up the egg yolks in the well. Slowly combine some of the flour on the edges of the well into the egg, until it starts to form a dough. It will be stick and not pretty at first, but continue to work it with your hands until it forms a ball. Knead the dough by turning it over and pressing your fist to work it across. Do this until elastic and smooth, at least 10 minutes. Wrap in seran wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This is crucial to the formation of the gluten in the dough, which allows dough to be stretched.
Combine all ingredients for the filling and place in a bowl off to the side for later.
Quarter the pasta dough and roll out each portion in a pasta roller. The thickness you end up with should be thin enough the see your hand through it. The thickness I go to on my kitchenaid pasta mixer is about a 5-6. Cut the pasta sheets into 4×4 inch squares. Make sure you keep your surface floured, as it will stick and break easily.
In a small bowl, combine the egg white and a little splash of water. This will be the egg wash to keep the pasta together. On each of the squares, spoon about a tablespoon of the filling.brush the egg wash around the outer edges. Use your hand to cup the sacchetti and twist the four corners together gently. Continue to do this for all of the pasta.
In a large saucepan, heat to medium-high heat. Once it is nice and hot, break the sausage out of the casing and crumble into the pan. Allow it to brown a bit, creating the fond on the bottom of the pan. Break the sausage apart with a wooden spoon and allow it to cook until just cooked through.
Remove the sausage and place on a paper towl lined plate. Place the butter in the pan. Allow the butter to slowly cook until it begins to brown a bit. At this point, sprinkle in the 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until combined. Let the roux cook for a few minutes while stirring. This will rid of the raw flour taste. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slowly whisk in the milk which shouldn’t be cold when you add it. It helps to heat the milk for 35 seconds in the microwave, to prevent any curdling when it hits the heat of the pan.Gently cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the sausage back to the sauce.
In a boiling pot of salted water, drop about 4-6 sacchetti at a time, being sure not to overcrowd the water. They will cook in 3-5 minutes, since they are fresh pasta. Remove and place into the sauce, coating each of them.
Finish on a plate with some freshly grated parmiggiano and crumbled amaretti cookies.