In general, I’m a pretty experimental gal. It’s my policy, when having dinner at a new restaurant, to order the craziest thing on the menu, and in the kitchen, I like to challenge myself to make new dishes I’ve never made before. This becomes more challenging when those dishes require some technique.
Writing the cookbook took this “challenging myself” thing to a whole different level. I was suddenly called upon to create recipes with a brand-new ingredient I didn’t know a ton about, about which there was very little information online, and that required me to learn some new techniques as well (I failed at making macarons 50 times).
But there’s nothing quite like the rush of figuring something out for the first time. It feels, I imagine, like planting your flag on the summit of Everest.
One of the recipes in my book is for a homemade vegan pasta. I figured the recipe out for that one pretty quick, actually, and I was quite happy with it. But I don’t own a pasta maker, so the first time I made it, I just rolled out the pasta with a rolling pin. It’s hard to get it thin enough that way.
I do own a KitchenAid (and I made this pasta dough in it, I’m sorry if that hurts your Italian nonna’s heart), but I’ve not yet invested in the pasta roller (which is a pretty steep $125). However, I do have a very good friend, @PastaBoyPeter, who teaches classes on how to make pasta, and has an inventory of hand-cranked pasta makers. He kindly loaned me one of his so I could test my recipe on his machine.
I have to give it back (even though I don’t want to–I think I might be time to invest in one of my own), but before I did, I wanted to attempt to make ravioli.
I’ve never made ravioli. Ever.
This time of the year begs for squash, pumpkin… gourds of all kinds. They make a perfect ravioli filling, as their subtle sweetness plays well off of the pasta.
The final result? Delicious. Though not entirely pretty. I believe in the industry, they would call these “rustic.” 😉
I need a few more goes and maybe a proper ravioli cutter (a round cookie cutter would have done the trick) to get these looking professional, but they tasted amazing.
I have a ton of sage right now, so I finished these really simply in a frying pan with butter, fried sage and shavings of pecorino.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage
- 5 large eggs
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading by hand and while rolling pasta)
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup peeled and cubed pumpkin or squash
- 1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 3 sprigs fresh sage
- 1/4 cup butter
- pecorino or similar cheese
1. To make the pasta, crack the eggs into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
2. Turn mixer to speed 4, and then whisk until smooth.
3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with the dough hook.
4. Add 1 cup of flour and turn mixer on to speed 2.
5. While the mixer is running, add the flour in ½ cup at a time.
6. Once all the flour is added and the dough has formed a ball on the dough hook, knead for 2 minutes.
7. Remove dough from the mixer and place on a floured work surface. Knead by hand for 2 more minutes.
9. This step is VERY important: wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 1/2 hour.
10. Prepare the filling: place the peeled and cubed squash or pumpkin in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover them with water, and season with a pinch of salt. Place on the stove and bring to a boil, then allow to simmer until the pumpkin is soft. *NOTE* you could just use a cup of pumpkin puree for this step if you wanted to skip this. Drain the pumpkin and mash well, or push it through a ricer or a food mill for the best results.
11. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, place 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of EVOO. Place the garlic in and stir well. Don’t allow the garlic to burn. Add a half dozen chopped sage leaves and the nutmeg as well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pureed pumpkin to this, and season well with salt and pepper. Mix well and allow for any extra water to evaporate. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool so you can handle/work with it.
12. Once the pasta has rested, remove it from the plastic wrap and divide into 4 sections. Roll each section out roughly with your rolling pin, then begin to run each section through your pasta roller. Start at zero and work your way up, one number at a time, passing the pasta through each time, to 6.
13. Lay your sheets of pasta on a large work surface. Using a teaspoon, dot the pumpkin filling at regular 2″ intervals all the way down. Using a pastry brush, brush water around each blob of pumpkin, then lay a second sheet of pasta on top. Using a round cookie cutter or a pizza cutter, cut each ravioli out. Carefully push out any air pockets, and then seal the edges of each one by crimping with your fingers.
14. Place the ravioli on a floured baking sheet until you have them all done.
15. Bring a large, well-salted pot of water to boil, and heat up your frying pan again over medium heat, this time adding 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of EVOO. Drop the ravioli individually into the boiling water, and allow them to cook. Don’t crowd the pan, just cook maybe 6-10 at a time. This will take 4-6 minutes. Once they are cooked, pull them from the water with a slotted spoon, and drop them into the warmed frying pan with the butter & EVOO. Add some sage leaves and allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes more and get all coated in butter and yumminess.
16. Remove to a plate and top with the melted butter. Shave cheese overtop. Repeat with remaining ravioli.