ah, fall in the Pacific Northwest. no, the frost isn’t on the pumpkin—yet. but the rain is overflowing the gutters, already laden with pine needles. the leaves of many colors are plastered on the lawn (which is blessedly green again), beaten down from heavy precipitation. our resident rabbits’ cotton tails? completely vanished. the entire warren running rampant and undetected as they blend into the drab landscape. on occasion, there’s a rare glimpse of sunshine. and i experienced one of those golden moments just the other day.
i’d been contemplating what to do with the remaining sugar pie pumpkins i’d picked up at Jones Creek Farm. the cooking-project criteria: creative. a little bit of a challenge. and, oh yeah, delicious. i dug out my recipe binders. pumpkin soup. nope. pumpkin fudge. nope. pumpkin bread. pumpkin pie. nope, nope. pumpkin cheesecake. save for Thanksgiving. pumpkin ravioli. now we’re talkin’.
i began by filling the house with the smell of baked pumpkin. nice. things were already looking up. then, i combined what i felt were the best components of four different recipes to come up with the variation you find here: a sparkling pumpkin ravioli true north. it’s delicate yet rich. with fragrant herbs and a wonderful burst of fall flavors to brighten up any soggy day.
Pumpkin-filled Ravioli with Butter, Sage and Toasted Pine Nuts
a variation based on recipes from Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Giada De Laurentiis and Martha Stewart
1 small sugar pie pumpkin (about 1 pound) (or 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parrano cheese (or Parmesan cheese)
2 tablespoons butter
for basic egg pasta
(i made this with my KitchenAid stand mixer and pasta roller attachment, according to the recipe in the provided instructions. there are certainly other recipes and methods, including purchasing sheets of pasta.)
1 3/4 cups of unbleached organic flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon water (this is what the KitchenAid recipe calls for; i used nearly 2 1/2 tablespoons to get the desired consistency)
1 egg beaten lightly for egg wash
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons of the leftover pasta cooking water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 sage leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
- preheat oven to 350F.
- remove stem from pumpkin, and cut in half.
- scoop out seeds. (here are a few neat ideas for toasting the seeds as snacks.)
- brush surface of each half with sunflower oil.
- cover cookie sheet with non-stick foil, and place pumpkin on the cookie sheet pulp side down.
- bake for about 1 hour, 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. (Mario’s recipe says to cook the pumpkin for 30 minutes; i don’t know how the pumpkin would soften in that amount of time, but wanted to call it out.)
- after the pumpkin has cooled, remove pulp and transfer into a food processor.
- puree the pumpkin.
- turn the pumpkin into a medium saucepan and add heavy cream and herbs.
- cook over low heat for approximately 1 hour, or until the mixture is thick, and the liquid has evaporated. stir occasionally to prevent scorching. (be careful of the splatting hot pumpkin mixture, even at low heat.)
- remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter, cheese and nutmeg; salt and pepper to taste; set aside to cool.
- make pasta sheets with your chosen methodology. it’s recommended that the sheets be rolled as thinly as possible.
- cut the pasta into two sheets and place on a floured surface (i dust parchment paper with flour and place the pasta sheets there).
- brush one of the sheets with the egg wash.
- using a teaspoon, place 24 equal mounds of the pumpkin mixture on the egg-washed dough, about 2 inches apart.
- cover the mounded dough with the second sheet of pasta, and press around the mounds of pumpkin to seal the dough together.
- using a sharp knife or a biscuit cutter, cut the ravioli into squares or circles.
- press edges together to seal. (i was paranoid of the filling coming out in the boiling water, so i actually crimped the edges with a fork.)
- preheat oven to 350F and toast the pine nuts until light, golden brown, about 5 minutes; set aside.
- bring 6 quarts of water to a boil; add some salt to the boiling water.
- drop ravioli in the water and cook for about 4 minutes. remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, saving the water.
- while pasta cooks, melt the stick of butter in a 12- to 14-inch saute pan with high sides, until the butter begins to foam; be careful not to burn the butter.
- add 2 tablespoons of pasta water and balsamic vinegar to the butter and whisk to emulsify.
- add sage leaves and ravioli to the pan, tossing gently for about 1 minute to coat pasta with the sauce.
- divide ravioli among four warmed plates, and top with pine nuts; serve immediately.