“PUMPKIN” RAVIOLI IN BROWN BUTTER PECAN SAUCE

I have on two occasions gone to the grocery store expecting to be able to get a pumpkin to cook with, after seeing them on display for several weeks, and all I could find was calabaza squash.  So two times, I used calabaza squash instead of pumpkin.  It’s probably the squash that is most often found in cans of pureed pumpkin anyways.

So…I made delicious calabaza squash ravioli.  I love making pasta.  It’s one of those things that the fresh version is just so much better than the dried versions.  I think ravioli is fun to make, although a bit tedious.  There are several tools available to help with the job, but they all have their pros and cons.

kitchenaid-ravioli-maker

I imagine the easiest way is to use the KitchenAid Attachments.  There’s the Pasta Roller (and also cutters for fettuccini and spaghetti), and the Ravioli Maker.  It’s a bit of an investment, so I have not had the pleasure of using these tools yet.

The Pasta Roller I have is manually operated and clamps to my countertop.

 

ravioli-pressOne tool for making ravioli that I like in theory is a Ravioli Cutting Frame that makes 12 ravioli at a time.  But there are a couple of problems with it.  You often have to fold your sheet of pasta in half and run it through the roller again to make sure your sheet is wide enough to use the frame.  The frame isn’t quite flat enough, so when you use your rolling pin, it doesn’t trim every single place that is supposed to be cut.  And finally, it’s kind of hard to get the ravioli out since they kind of stick to the frame.
ravioli-stampcuttersThere are a variety of ravioli cutters, or cutters that could be used as ravioli cutters (such as these Ravioli Stamps, or any kind of cookie cutter rings.)  This is the method I ended up using this time.  It’s kind of tedious and slow, but create beautiful uniform raviolis.  I used a scalloped edge ring.

 

ravioli-wheelThe fastest way to cut your ravioli is to use a Pastry/Ravioli Wheel.  The only downside to this is that you don’t end up with perfectly uniform ravioli.  So it depends on how much you want to impress your guests.

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On to the good stuff.

“PUMPKIN” FILLING:

  • 1.5 Lbs of Pumpkin or Calabaza Squash, or similar
  • 1/2 an Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  The squash I got was really a quarter of a sqaush, packaged by the grocery store.  I also had three pounds, so I ended up making a second batch of pasta late in the game to use my double-batch of filling.  Scoop out the seeds and use a sharp knife to pierce the side of the squash with skin on. Rub some olive oil on the fleshy part, and bake until a sharp knife went in easily, about 40 minutes.

While that was baking, I caramelized my onion.  Slice very thinly with a mandolin or food processor.  Heat a little oil in a cast iron skillet, and cook the onions with a little bit of salt on low heat.  Do not stir much at the beginning so your onions can start to caramelize and brown.

I actually cooked both of these items the night before making my ravioli, and refrigerated them until I needed them.

After removing the skin, throw the pumpkin, along with the onion, and all other ingredients into a food processor, and blend until homogeneous.

pumpkin ravioli filling.jpg

 

PASTA:

  • 2.5 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil (add more if too dry)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a ball forms, or clumps up when pinched.  If too dry and no ball forms, add some more oil.  Turn it over onto a floured surface, and knead it until it comes together.  Using a dough cutter, cut the dough into four portions, and needed each portion for five minutes.  The texture will end up soft and smooth, like model magic (which is a super light, squishy modeling clay–lighter than playdough).  It’s important to knead for the full five minutes to create this really light texture, otherwise the pasta will be heavy and kind of gummy.  Wrap each ball tightly in Saran wrap and let rest for 20 minutes to an hour.

Then to the pasta maker.  Working with one ball or dough at a time, cut the ball in half, pat into a sort of rectangular-ish shape, and feed through pasta maker on largest setting (on my machine it is 7).  Add a little flour to each side of pasta as needed.  Fold the sheet in thirds, rotate (so you aren’t trapping any air bubbles in), and run the dough through setting 7 again.  Repeat this three more times (so you have done it four times), this is the last step in kneading the dough.  

making pasta.jpg

Run the dough through settings 5, 3, and finally 2, remembering to add a little flour to each side if the dough starts pulling.  Place on a floured baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with flour and cover with a piece of plastic wrap to keep from drying out while you roll out the rest of your dough.

ASSEMBLING THE RAVIOLI:

  • Pasta Sheets
  • Filling
  • Egg Wash (one egg + 1/2 teaspoon water + beaten until light in color)
  • Flour

Depending on your ravioli making technique of choice, this part looks a little different.  I laid one sheet of pasta down, and used the cutter I had to figure out how many pieces of ravioli would fit on a given sheet.  Make sure that the top sheet of pasta is larger than you bottom sheet of pasta.  For wider sheets, I could fit two raviolis side by side, but the thinner sheets created fewer ravioli.

making ravioli.jpg

Place about a half a teaspoon or filling in the center of each ravioli.  Be careful to not over-fill.  Using a pastry brush, brush some of the egg wash around the filling.  Place a second sheet of pasta over the first sheet, carefully.  Work your fingers around each filling mound to squeeze out any air, and to “glue” the two sheets of pasta together with the egg wash.

Use your cutter to center around your filling mounds, and cut out your ravioli.  Transfer to a baking sheet, coat well with flour, and cover with plastic wrap.  Please use more flour than I did here.  I had some trouble with sticking….

ravioli finished.jpg

Wrap leftover dough in plastic, and once you have run out of your original sheets of pasta, kneed your leftovers until they are homogenous, and allow the dough to rest for ten minutes before rolling out new sheets.  Continue until you run out of filling, or dough.

These can be placed in a plastic bag to be refrigerated or frozen for later, or cooked in a large pot of boiling water until they just float (1-4 minutes).

SALTED BROWN BUTTER SAUCE WITH PECANS AND SAGE:

  • 1 Stick of Salted Butter
  • 2 oz Pecans, chopped
  • Fresh Sage, chiffonade cut

Melt stick of butter in a small pan.  Once the butter has foamed up and started to brown, mix in the pecans to cook for about a minute.  Add the sage, cook for 30 more seconds and remove from the heat.

SERVING THE RAVIOLI:

Place five or six ravioli on a plate and spoon some of the Brown Butter sauce over the pasta.

ravioli.jpg

I served these with a side of grilled asparagus, and a wonderful salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, artichoke hearts, shallot, and pepitas with a homemade salad dressing of shallot, garlic, salt, dijon mustard, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I do apologize for not having more intermediary pictures.  Since we had guests over, I wasn’t able to document as thoroughly as I usually try to.

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