A good pasta is something that warms the soul in my eyes. It offers you a diverse world of options, flavours and textures - playful on the palate and comforting to the stomach. Here's a simple recipe I have for a yummy Sweet Potato Tortellini that is always a crowd pleaser in my house.
Sweet Potato Tortellini
2.5 cups of plain flour
4 eggs + 1 extra yolk
900 grams sweet potato
150 grams ricotta
2 tablespoons sage, chopped plus 1 tablespoon of leaves (left in tact)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped plus 2 extra left whole (squashed)
1 red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
250 grams salted butter
Make a well with the plain flour on a clean bench or workspace, adding two pinches of salt. Crack 4 eggs into the centre and using your hands start to work the egg into the flour so that it becomes a dough gradually.
Once the ingredients are combined, add a little plain flour to your bench and knead the dough for around 7 minutes until elastic and smooth.
Break the dough into four balls and wrap with cling film until you're ready to roll the pasta out.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees (fan forced).
Peel the sweet potato, cutting it into 2cm cubes and arranging it onto a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt and pepper over the top plus crush some a couple of garlic cloves to infuse as the sweet potato cooks (cook for approximately 40 minutes or until tender).
Chop red onion and garlic, cooking in the pan with a teaspoon of oil until soft. Drain the oil and place into a mixing bowl.
Once the sweet potato is cooked, take it out of the oven discarding the garlic cloves. Add the potato to the onion and mash them together until fully combined.
When the mixture has cooled down, add in the ricotta, chopped sage leaves, nutmeg, grated parmesan, crumbled feta and mix together. Adjust the taste with sea salt and pepper (it's quite a sweet mixture so I add a good amount of sea salt to give it balance).
Using a pasta machine, roll out your dough to be as thin as you can without it tearing. Working quickly, cut 4x4cm squares and fill each in the centre with a teaspoon of mixture, folding over so it forms a triangle and pinching along the edges. Then grab the two side corners and pinch them together to form the tortellini shape.
Lay out the tortellini on a tray with a light coating of cornflour - don't let them touch or they'll stick.
Boil a large saucepan to cook the tortellini, adding in a pinch of sea salt.
Add the pasta, cooking for around 5 minutes or until al dente. Once cooked, drain, and then cook the next batch of tortellinis (I usually cook these in batches of 2 or 3).
In a new frying pan, melt butter slowly over medium-low heat, adding in the whole sage leaves. Let this cook for about 5 minutes which should infuse the sage flavouring and turn the butter to a nice nutty brown.
Serve the tortellini by spooning the burnt butter and sage leaves over the top, then add a really liberal sprinkling of parmesan.
Serves: 4 people as a main.