Pumpkin Tortelloni with Brown Butter and Sage Sauce

It’s pumpkin time! I ran across this recipe when I was checking out the new cookbook by Flour + Water, one of our favorite spots in SF. (We took a gluten-free friend there by accident, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so bad for someone. It’s definitely a gluten lovers paradise! Love you Kathryn!) Anyways, I found part of this recipe as one of the publisher samples, and I was able to track down the full recipe on the Williams-Sonoma site (yay!). And omg. It was so good. If you are a big fan of pumpkin, you will love this one because you really get that pumpkiny flavor in each bite. It does take a bit of time because you’re handmaking the tortelloni (tortellini are the small ones, tortelloni the big ones) but if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s totally worth it!

Pumpkin Tortelloni with Brown Butter and Sage

The one piece of equipment that you might want to get is a pasta maker. You need to get that pasta pretty thin, and though I’m sure it’s been rolled out by hand by a few thousand nonnas in Italy (see link to video below)…I’m still going to use my pasta maker. Yay for technology! But if you don’t have one, don’t despair. Just get ready to roll! Pasta maker or not, you’ll want a good rolling pin (I like the French ones) and a bench knife. Bench knifes are great for gently lifting that sticky pasta off your cutting board and cleaning up slightly doughy flour piles off your counter. Another great tool is a pasta cutter.  Though pasta making can be slightly time-consuming, it’s totally worth it when you end up with a batch of fresh pasta. It tastes so good and it freezes well, so you can always save some for later.

Pumpkin Tortelloni with Brown Butter and Sage

The original recipe calls for roasting and pureeing your own pumpkin..but yeah…that’s not going to happen. I decided to substitute canned pumpkin because I have no problem using canned pumpkin. Just try to get the best possible pumpkin – organic and with no added salt – and you won’t even notice. Get ready, because there are a fair amount of steps down there, but it’s totally doable! And if you want a little video help, check out this link with the adorable Pasta Grannies. How cute are they?

You’ll need one batch of the ravioli dough before you start this one.

Pumpkin Tortelloni with Brown Butter and Sage Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These delicious Pumpkin Torelloni from Flour + Water in San Francisco will get you ready for the fall season! You'll need to have one batch of Ravioli Dough ready to go.
Serves: 4
  • One batch ravioli dough
  • Semolina Flour, for dusting your work surfaces
For the Filling
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (try to go organic 100% pumpkin if you can)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ Tbs. honey
For the sauce:
  • 2 Tbs. pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbs. unsalted butter (if the lactose-intolerant angel on your shoulder is freaking out, go with 2)
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, finely slivered
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for the top
  1. Prepare the ravioli dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If you made it earlier and it was in the fridge, let it sit at room temp for those 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a small pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted and the foam has calmed down a bit, stir the butter until it turns a nice tan color. It can burn quickly, so now is not the time to leave the kitchen. Once the butter has a nice nutty smell, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  3. Blend the brown butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vinegar together. Season to taste with salt, and then add the honey. Gently fold the parmesan into the batter. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge while you prep the dough.
  4. Set two sheet pans out and sprinkle them with semolina flour. You'll put the tortelloni here as you finish them.
  5. To make the tortelloni, slice off about a half a cup of the dough and wrap the rest of it back up with plastic wrap - it'll dry out if you leave it naked for too long. If anything gets too dry, you can give it a nice little spritz/brush with water. Place the dough on a board that you've gently dusted with semolina flour (you'll want to keep the semolina close..dough gets sticky).Flatten the piece out until it'll fit through the widest setting on your pasta maker. Sometimes trial and error is best here. You'll probably want something around ¼ inch. Roll the dough through the thickest setting on your machine, tighten the rollers one setting and roll through again, and then repeat with an even thinner setting. Now, you've rolled it three times on three different settings. Your piece should be about twice as long as it was when you started.
  6. Now, you're going to laminate the pasta by folding it over on itself several times (imagine folding a towel to fit in a tight cupboard!). Lay the piece down on your workspace vertically. Determine the width that your pasta machine can handle by measuring the width of your machine and subtracting two finger widths. So if it's 4 inches, you'll measure four inches from the top of your dough piece, and fold the dough over on itself at that point. Now fold that double layer down that same 4 inches. And again. And again. You'll want to have at least 4 layers. With our 4 inch measurement, you should have a piece of dough that is 4 inches tall. Roll your dough and press all the layers together so they will fit through the rollers.
  7. Now roll that piece through but with a 90-degree turn from how you had it on your floured board. This time, roll your dough through the machine three times on each setting. Try to go slow and steady and keep a nice dusting of semolina nearby in case things get sticky. This is when it comes in handy to have a friend (or a third hand) nearby. Roll the dough out until it's about 1/16" thick or when you can see the outline of your fingers through the dough. That's usually somewhere around the second or third to last setting. If the dough is being difficult or if you can't find that third hand, feel free to cut the dough in half after the first few passes to make it a bit more manageable.
  8. Once you have the dough to its desired thickness, lay it on a lightly dusted cutting board. Cut the dough into 3 inch squares. Place 2 tsp of the filling into the middle of the square. Fold one corner across to the opposite corner and press the edges to close them while squeezing the air out from the filling pocket. You should now have a triangle with the middle point facing away from you. Pick up the triangle and place the back of your index finger on the hypotenuse (Remember that? It's the longest side). Now wrap the two ends towards you around your finger so that they overlap and press them together. You'll end up with a ring shape. If you're confused, it helps to look at a picture or the above video. It's an easy process that's fairly difficult to describe.
  9. Continue making tortelloni with the rest of the dough, setting them on the prepared pans once they're done. Try not to let them touch - they're sticky little things! The semolina flour will be your best friend, as things get difficult when they get too sticky. Just try not to go overboard as you don't want to dry out the dough.
  10. You'll end up with two pans of tortelloni - one you can freeze and save for later. If you want to make them all, just double the sauce.
  11. You're almost done! Heat the oven to 350F and bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Also set out a 12" pan on the stove for your sauce. You'll be warming the pasta in the sauce here, so don't pick a tiny one.
  12. Mix the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toast them in the oven spread out on a pan for about ten minutes and then set aside.
  13. Once the water is boiling, drop those babies into the hot water.
  14. At the same time, add the butter and ¼ cup of the seasoned pasta water to that 12" pan you have out. After the tortelloni have cooked almost al dente, about 2-3 minutes, fish them out and drop them into the pan. Don't dump all your pasta water yet! Add the sage and swirl everything around. Cook until the sauce coats the back of the spoon, adding more pasta water if needed, for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Serve with more grated parmesan and the toasted pumpkin seeds.

If you’re going to freeze the extra, just throw the whole pan of them into the freezer. Once they’re frozen you can move them into a ziploc bag. They should freeze for around two months. To use, just pop them into a pot of boiling water and give them an extra minute of cooking time.

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