Courgette & Ricotta Casonsei Recipe. Recreate your favourite vegetarian pasta dish from Amano.
200g ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
2 free-range eggs
400g green courgettes, trimmed and halved lengthways
100g Parmesan, grated
pinch of nutmeg
zest of 1 lemon
1 free-range egg yolk
fine semolina, for dusting
100g unsalted butter
3 courgettes, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
40 mint leaves, torn
juice of 2 lemons
buttermilk, for garnish
fresh mint tips
For the pasta dough, place flour on a flat surface (ideally a wooden breadboard) and make a well in the middle. Crack eggs into the well. Use a fork to whip eggs within the walls of the well, keeping the edges high while gradually drawing in the flour.
Once flour and eggs are fully combined and a firm ball has formed, start kneading dough with the heel of your hand. Push down and forward, then fold the dough, and repeat this action for at least 10 minutes.
When dough is smooth and pliable, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Unwrap chilled dough and use a rolling pin to flatten it. Dust with a very small amount of flour to stop it sticking — be careful, as too much flour will dry the dough out.
Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and feed the dough through. Pass it through three times, reducing the thickness every time. To laminate the dough, fold it back on itself in thirds then give it a quarter turn and pass it through the machine again at the widest setting. Repeat this process twice. This re-activates the gluten and allows the dough to stretch smoothly, so that it will have fewer tears.
Continue to pass the dough through the machine, with the end coming last out of the rollers being the first bit you feed back into the machine. As you repeat this action, keep turning the machine down to a thinner setting until you reach the second-to-last thickness. Lay this dough out on the flat surface.
For the filling, brush the courgettes with a little oil, then chargrill until blackened and soft on all sides. Combine with remaining filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Check and adjust the seasoning and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle.
To form the casonsei, use a sharp knife to cut the pasta into an even number of sheets 10cm wide (or whatever size you like). Dust with a little semolina to prevent the pasta drying out. Pipe two rows of 3cm lengths of filling onto half of the pasta leaving 1cm around all the edges and 2cm gaps between fillings.
Place a second sheet of pasta on top and press the pasta together around the fillings to seal them in. If the dough begins to dry out, a spritz of water will help to seal it. Cut into individual filled parcels, trimming so that they are uniform, and pull the ends towards each other into the centre to create the final shape. Place on a tray dusted with semolina and store, uncovered, in the refrigerator.
To cook the casonsei, bring a large pot of water to the boil and season with sea salt. Cook the casonsei in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then remove. Reserve the pasta cooking water.
To make the sauce, divide butter between two large frying pans and melt over a high heat until brown. Tip half the pasta into each pan and add a small amount of the pasta cooking water to emulsify the sauce. Add diced courgette, parsley and mint, cook for 1 minute, then add the lemon juice and season to taste.
To serve, divide pasta and sauce among serving plates, dot over buttermilk and finish with finely grated Parmesan, mint tips and dill.
Extracted from New Zealand Restaurant Cookbook by Delaney Mes. Published by Penguin NZ, RRP$50.00. Photography by Liz Clarkson. Recipe from Amano, Auckland.