The Pasta (capunti)
170 grams 00 flour
170 grams semolina
175 grams water
a few safron threads
To make the pasta:
1) Lightly warm up the water and add the safron threads. Let stand until cool and/or the water has developed a nice yellow colour.
2) In a bowl mix the flour and the semolina.
3) Make a well in the flour. Using a fine strainer, strain the water into the flour, and then start to mix (You can perform this step direct on the counter). Once the liquid has been absored, scrape all the dough onto a worktop and start kneading.
4) Knead the dough until it is generally smooth and slightly elastic. To test the elasticity, shape into a ball and lightly poke the dough. It should slowly bounce back. This step can take 5-10 minutes.
5) Cover and let the dough rest (20 minutes).
6) To shape the dough, cut the dough into quarters and working one quarter at a time, roll into a long cigar shape. Cut at 2-3 cm intervals. Quickly and lightly roll between your palms each section (one motion should be enough). What you are looking for is to create an oval shape that is pointed at each end. Using two to four fingers (depending on the size of te oval and your fingers) push into the centre of the oval and pull the dough toward you quickly. The idea is to create an opening in the pasta, so it is mostly circular but open at one end, kind of like a basket, or an open pea pod. If you want, you can ignore the finger-shaping step and just stick with the ovals. Note that when you cook the pasta it will expand a bit.
(Note: the pasta is easy to work with but you want it a bit sticky when shaping, so do not add any flour for dusting. They will stick though, so after shaping them place them on a non-stick surface (I used a clean cotton or linen cloth) or use a dusting of semolina on the counter as an alternative).
Cook in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. I've found that when transfering the pasta to the pot it is okay if they stick together during the transfer as they seperate in the water. I do stir the water gently after placing the capunti into the water to make sure they seperate.
Butter and Vegatables
Make the brown butter with sage by adding some sage leaves to butter and cooking gently until the milk solids in the butter start to brown. I use unsalted butter. Discard the browned bits (to do this, very gently pour the butter into a contained, leaving the browned milk solids behind). Reserve.
Turn on the oven (the temperature here can be 150, 175 or even 200, it doesn't matter)
Butternut squash -- peel, removed seeds, and cut into small cubes (about 1-1.5 cm cube). Place in a baking tray, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper. I sometimes also add a pinch of cinnamon and ground clover. Cover and roast until just tender but not mushy.
Additional vegetables: Purple carrots and shallots are also nice. Cube the carrots like the squash, and slice the shallots. In a roasting tray drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover and roast until just tender but not mushy.
The trick here is timing. You want the vegetables to be roasted around the same time the pasta is done. Fortunately, the pasta cooks very fast. Have the pasta shapes and boiling water ready. When the vegetables are done, remove from the oven but keep covered, and then cook the pasta.
A) Gently coat the cooked pasta with a generous drizzle of the sage brown butter
B) Add two thirds of the roast vegetables and light stirr (you can also add some of the cheese at this stage if you want).
C) Place pasta onto serving dish and top with rough spoons of riccota, the remaining roast vegetables, and finely granted parmesan. Pine nuts are a nice addition.
Presentation notes: For a neat presentation you want to toss/mix the pasta and vegetables as little as possibe.