Kabocha Squash and Pork Belly Tortellini

October 29, 2019

Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Chef Casey Corn @casey_corn

I just want to start off by saying that I realize this is an aggressively long recipe. I will admit it is not for the faint of heart. But these tortellini are so dang delicious that I promise you it's worth the effort. This recipe actually makes a double batch of filling, so either make two batches of pasta, or use the filling in a different way. Though it is a lot of work, I'd recommend going the double batch of pasta route (just do the whole thing in two batches, don't double the pasta recipe), since these tortellini freeze like champions. Opening up my freezer to these tortellini literally makes me happy dance every time. If you are absolutely terrified of making pasta, don't worry! Stuff some manicotti or jumbo shells with your filling, and douse in bechamel. Can't find a sunshine kabocha squash? Use about 2 pounds of your favorite squash! 


1 ea sunshine kabocha squash (about 2 lbs)

1 ea pork belly

3 oz goat cheese

1 bu sage

1 ea shallot

6 ea garlic cloves

1 ea bay leaf

4 c chicken stock

⅓ c white wine

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp white pepper


2 c 00 flour

3 ea large eggs, room temperature

1½ Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch kosher salt



1. Preheat oven to 400F. Pierce the skin of the kabocha squash, then place on a baking sheet and into the oven for about 45 min - 1 hour, until a knife slides smoothly into the squash. Remove squash from oven, and lower temp to 285F.

2. Allow the squash to cool just enough to handle. Cut through the stem into quarters, then scoop out the seeds. Peel the skin off, and transfer squash flesh to a large mixing bowl. Mash using a whisk, until no lumps remain. Whisk in goat cheese, white pepper and 1 tsp of salt. Cover, and set aside.

3. Season pork belly liberally with salt on all sides, and let sit for at least 20 min. Heat a medium saute pan over medium low heat, then add the pork belly fat-side down, and let fat begin to render. Once you see a slick of fat in the pan, turn heat up to medium-high, and sear until golden on all sides. Remove to a plate, and lower the heat.

4. Roughly chop the shallots and garlic cloves, and add them to the pan. Sweat lightly in the pork fat, until becoming translucent. Finely chop a tablespoon of sage, and add to the squash mixture. Roughly chop the rest of the sage, including stems, and add to the pan with garlic and shallots. Add the bay leaf, then deglaze with white wine, making sure to scrape all the caramelized bits off the bottom.

5. Reduce the wine halfway, then add the chicken stock and stir. Place the pork belly, along with any juices, back in the pan, fat-side up, and bring to a boil. Once the braisage begins to boil, cover and place in the oven, for at least 3 hours.

6. Stir the chopped sage into the squash mixture, then cover and place in fridge while the pork cooks.

7. In the meantime, make your pasta dough. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Form a well in the middle. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and olive oil together well. Pour into the well in the flour, and using a fork, start to stir, just within the eggs, to start incorporating flour. Continue brushing the sides of the flour well with the fork to incorporate it, without disturbing the bottom of the well if possible. Once a shaggy dough forms, turn it out onto a floured surface, and knead, about 7-10 minutes, until a smooth, elastic dough forms. Wrap in cling film, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

8. When the pork belly is done, carefully remove the pan from the oven. Using tongs, place the pork belly on a plate to cool a bit. Strain the braising liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth, then pour it back into the pan, and bring to a simmer to reduce it. Let it reduce until it is almost coating consistency, skimming as necessary to remove any extra fat, and transferring to a smaller pot as needed.

9. Using your hands or two forks, shred the pork belly, removing as much fat as possible. Fold the finely shredded pork into the squash mixture. This is your filling for the tortellini.

10. Roll out your pasta dough. Split it into four pieces, and keep covered with a very slightly damp tea towel while not working. Starting with one piece, roll it out until it fits in your pasta machine. Starting with the lowest setting, sheet pasta through the machine twice on each level, up to about the third level (2 or 3 on most machines). Fold in thirds, then repeat. Do this 5 times, then continue to tighten the machine until pasta is almost translucent, but not totally see-through.

11. Prep a small ramekin of lukewarm water. Lay out sheet of pasta, and cut into rough 2x2 inch squares. Dollop a small spoonful of squash/pork filling into the center of each square. Dip your finger into the water, and wet the top and left sides of the square of pasta. Fold the bottom right corner up to the top left, and pinch together to form a triangle, trying to remove all of the air from the inside. Once sealed, fold the bottom two corners together and pinch to secure. Repeat with the rest of the squares, and then with the rest of the pasta dough.

12. To cook the tortellini, boil heavily salted water and cook for about 2-4 minutes. Serve with a garlicky cream sauce.



this recipe only makes enough pasta for half the filling. if you’d like to double it, i’d recommend doing it in two sittings.

tortellini can be frozen by placing on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper in the freezer. once they are frozen, they can be transferred to a ziplock.

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