Strozzapreti with pumpkin and bacon
Featured in SBS Feast Magazine
Serves 4 • Prep 1 hr • Cooking 20 mins
Literally ‘priest choker’, strozzapreti pasta has many stories behind its name. Some believe its popularity among churchmen meant it was devoured to the point of choking, while others say it was a form of payment to the church who owned most of the farmland at the time. Or it could just describe the twisting or ‘choking’ action used to shape the pasta.
300g butternut pumpkin, thinly sliced, pulp reserved, skin discarded
1 onion, finely chopped
100g bacon, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked
2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, to serve
200g (1⅓ cups) ‘00’ pasta flour*, sifted
50g (½ cup) fine dried breadcrumbs
2 egg whites
1. To make strozzapreti, mound flour and breadcrumbs on a clean work surface and make a well in centre. Combine egg whites with 60ml water, then pour into well. Using a fork, draw in flour, working from the centre outwards, then using your hands work in remaining flour. Knead dough for 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Enclose in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place pumpkin trimmings and onion in a saucepan over medium heat and season with salt. Add enough water to just cover, then cook for 20 minutes or until very soft. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
3. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until 5mm thick and about 12cm wide – nearly the width of your pasta machine. Set your pasta machine at its widest setting, then feed through dough, narrowing the settings one notch at a time until you reach the middle setting. To make strozzapreti, cut pasta into 3cm-wide strips, then cut each strip lengthwise into 7cm pieces. Lightly roll each piece between the palms of your hands into a cylinder. Cook strozzapreti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
4. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add sliced pumpkin and cook, turning occasionally, for 3 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper, then add garlic, rosemary and reserved pumpkin purée, stirring to combine. Cook for a further minute or until warmed through.
5. Add strozzapreti to pumpkin mixture, tossing gently. Transfer to a platter, scatter over bacon, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve drizzled with balsamic and olive oil.