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.
- 300 g butternut pumpkin, thinly sliced, pulp reserved, skin discarded
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 100 g bacon, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- 200 g (1⅓ cups) ‘00’ pasta flour (see Note), sifted
- 50 g (½ cup) fine dried breadcrumbs
- 2 egg whites
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match 2012 Coriole Fiano, McLaren Vale, SA ($25)
To make strozzapreti, mound flour and breadcrumbs on a clean work surface and make a well in centre. Combine egg whites with 60 ml 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.
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.
Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until 5 mm thick and about 12 cm 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 3 cm-wide strips, then cut each strip lengthwise into 7 cm 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.
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.
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.
• ‘00’ (or doppio-zero) pasta flour is a super-fine Italian grade that’s traditionally used for making pasta. It is available from select supermarkets and delis. Substitute plain flour.
Photography Brett Stevens