Valentine’s Day is not about how much money you spend on someone, but how much time you spend on someone. So, what better way to show someone you care, then by making them handmade pasta? This recipe is not difficult at all, it just takes a bit of time and a lot of love. The pasta recipe is easily adaptable, and could be made into any shape, or take advantage of any fresh herbs you may have. The sauce is also very versatile, and could be made with a variety of nuts. The kabocha squash competes for the starring role in this dish, and pretty much cooks itself while you prepare the rest of the components. This recipe is sure to impress your loved one. Or, if you’re single, it’s sure to help you impress yourself.

Serves 4

Active time 2 hours

Components:

  • Handmade Fettuccine with Sage (recipe below)
  • Hazelnut Cream Sauce (recipe below)
  • Roasted Kabocha Squash (recipe below)
  • Fresh sage for garnish
  • Toasted hazelnuts for garnish
  • Fresh ground nutmeg

Handmade Fettuccine with Sage:

  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons red palm oil (or just sub 2 tablespoons olive oil.)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves

Special equipment:

In a pourable measuring cup, add the palm oil to the hot water and allow it to melt.  Add the flour, salt, and fresh sage into your food processor. Pulse the processor until the sage is incorporated but still visible.

Continue to pulse the food processor, and begin to add the water and oil through the feed hole. Add the remaining liquid and keep pulsing until all of the liquid is gone. If the dough is not starting to come together and pull away from the sides, add more water, a tablespoon at a time through the feed hole. Once the dough is starting to come together, and starts to roll around the inside of the processor, process for 30 seconds.

Remove the dough from the processor, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Divide your chilled dough into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (leaving the others sealed in the plastic wrap) form the portion into a rectangular shape. On your pasta maker’s widest setting, begin to feed your dough through. If things gets sticky, don’t be afraid to add a dusting of flour to your dough. After each pass through, fold the dough over on itself, and feed it through again. This helps to smooth out the dough, and it helps to form a more rectangular shape. When you feel confident with your dough’s shape, continue to roll your pasta through the machine, changing the width every two passes. Your dough will become thinner and longer. My machine has 7 settings, and for fettuccine noodles, I stop at 6. Continue to roll out all of your dough, setting the rolled dough on the counter with a bit of flour under it so that it doesn’t stick.

When all of your dough is rolled out, cut each length of dough in half, so that you are left with the length of pasta you would like. Using the fettucini setting on your pasta machine, roll each length of dough through, making sure to collect it with your hand on the other end. Return the cut noodles to your counter, being careful not to let them overlap too much just in case they decide to stick. When all of your noodles are cut, dust them with a bit of flour.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your fresh pasta into the boiling water, stirring gently for the first minutes so that the noodles do not stick together. Allow to cook for between two and three minutes. Begin testing at two. All noodles should be gone from the water by three. They should be a bit chewy, but not raw or mushy. Using tongs or a pasta scoop, move the noodles from the water to a large bowl. Do not dump out the water.

Hazelnut Cream Sauce:

  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup soy or plant-based milk

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and garlic. Into a small pan, add the olive oil, and the chopped garlic and hazelnuts. Bring the stove to a medium heat, and gently stir and toss the garlic and hazelnuts in the oil until they begin to brown and become fragrant. This should take between 3 and 5 minutes. Do not let them burn, or they will turn bitter. When the garlic is about the same color as the flesh of the hazelnuts, remove the pan from the heat and allow them to stop sizzling in the pan.

Pour the oil, hazelnuts and garlic into a food processor or blender and process until a creamy hazelnut butter has formed. This may require you to stop the machine often to scrape the sides. When you have a smooth enough paste, add the soy milk to your processor and pulse until you have a uniform, creamy mixture. Add fresh ground black pepper. Pour into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Note: You will be adding hot, salted pasta water to this later, so hold off on the salt for right now.

Roasted Kabocha Squash:

  • 1 whole kabocha squash
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Begin by cutting the top and bottom off of the squash. Make sure to watch your hands, and try your best to cut the squash so that there is minimal rocking. With the top and bottom removed, it is easier to cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds and discard. Place the squash cut-side down on your cutting board, and cut the squash into half circles, between a half and a quarter inch thick. Add the cut squash to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss.

Place the seasoned squash on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet (or two), and bake in the over for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. The squash is done when it’s easily pierced by a fork, or if you taste it, and you just keep wanting to eat more and more.

Assembly:

Add your cooked noodles to a large bowl. Add a few dollops of the hazelnut paste to the noodles. Begin adding a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the bowl, gently tossing the noodles and the hazelnut paste until a creamy sauce begins to form. Continue to add more paste or water until you have achieved your desired consistency and coverage. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange your kabocha squash on a plate into whatever creative shape you would like. Add a generous portion of pasta along the side, or inside of whatever shape you have created out of the squash. Finish off with freshly grated nutmeg, grated hazelnut, and a few tiny sage leaves. Serve immediately.