Halloween is over, and the ubiquitous pumpkins are now languishing sadly in the supermarket aisles, reduced to 10p to clear. Now is the time to strike! This pumpkin ravioli recipe is absolutely the BEST way to use up those sad pumpkins (or to use the flesh you scooped out when carving), so go and grab one now. Or maybe two – you can always cube up the flesh and freeze it for roasting when they’re out of season (it also makes an amazing soup!).
Now, making your own pasta might sound really tricky, but I promise it isn’t, and you will be so proud of the results it will be 100% worth it. I actually learnt in Tuscany from a little old Italian lady who spoke no English (and I’d just moved there so I didn’t speak Italian then). It was one of my most beautiful and memorable days in Florence. You can read about it here, and find out how to make the authentic Italian bruschetta we also ate that day.
You don’t need a pasta machine to make your own pasta, it can be made with a good old rolling pin, and your arms will get an amazing workout at the same time. However, it is very hard work without so I would recommend you beg, borrow or steal (well, not steal obviously) a pasta machine. I borrowed one from my lovely friend Nic for this, and I’m going to use it again tonight to make pappardelle to go with a game and juniper stew that’s in the slow cooker. Then I should probably give it back to her! I might put one on my Christmas list though – I used to use the one in my house in Florence all the time.
Sage cooked simply in butter is one of the most delicious things ever, and drizzled over fat ravioli filled with sweet and savoury, slightly cheesy pumpkin, it’s food from heaven. Go on, please give this a try tonight! I’ll give you the pasta recipe first, because that can be used for any type of pasta you like – you can cut it into tagliatelle, use it as lasagne sheets, or stuff and roll it into tortellini (or a million other pasta types, but you get the picture). Then I’ll tell you how to make the filling, which is really simple. But in terms of timing, it’s best to put the pumpkin in the oven to roast (just slice it up, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, and cook for half an hour on about 180° until slightly browned on edges) before you start on your pasta (quite a while before) so that it has cooked and cooled enough for you to handle.
Just-roasted pumpkin is way too hot to handle! Then make your pasta, and whilst it is chilling in the fridge, finish off your filling. Then roll the pasta out, fill, and voila! Ready to cook.
- 275g Tipo '00' Durum Wheat Pasta Flour
- 3 eggs
- Heap the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the middle.
- Crack the eggs into the well, and beat with a fork, then gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs from the edges.
- Continue until well mixed, then with your hands bring the dough together and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. You may need to add a little more flour or a little more water at this stage if it is too sticky or too dry.
- Cut the dough into three, wrap with cling film, and put in the fridge for half an hour.
- If using filling, make it now.
- Once the pasta is chilled, remove the first ball from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface press it gently into a long sausage shape.
- Pass this shape thorough the pasta maker on the thickest setting. Then pass it through again two settings thinner. Repeat, gradually thinning the dough, until you have a sheet passed through the thinnest setting. Lay this out on a floured surface.
- Repeat with the other balls of dough. Shape or fill your pasta as desired.
- Then cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until the pasta floats to the surface.
Here are some photos to explain the process a little better. If you find whilst rolling that your dough is getting too ‘wide’ for the machine’, or is splitting a lot, simply fold it in half widthways and pass it through a slightly wider setting. The process doesn’t take too long but it does take patience, you definitely can’t rush it. It is actually very therapeutic – if you’re into mindfulness, rolling pasta is an amazing activity!
And now for the filling. You don’t have to make pumpkin ravioli – this recipe can work at any time of the year – you could use traditional ragu, or porcini mushrooms and pancetta, or spinach and ricotta – whatever you fancy. The premise is still the same, mix your ingredients, be sure the mixture isn’t too wet, and then add it to the middle of your ravioli.
I didn’t use a recipe as such, I simply scraped the roasted pumpkin flesh from the pumpkin, then using a clean tea towel, I squeezed all the water I could from it (a surprising amount!). I put this in a bowl with a good grating of black pepper, some salt, some freshly diced sage, some grated nutmeg, lots of grated parmesan, and an egg. I mixed all this thoroughly, and this became my filling.
The number of slices of pumpkin you see in the top photo made about three times as much filling as I needed – you really only need a slice or two of pumpkin, or you can make lots and freeze – this makes a great pasta sauce or topping for a jacket potato (with some pancetta – delicious!), or filling for an omelette.
Once you have your pasta made and laid out in large strips, cut each one in half widthways so you have two lengths the same width. Then at two inch intervals, add a teaspoon of your filling down the centre of one of these strips. Using some beaten egg, brush around each lump of filling. Then very carefully lay the other strip on top of this one. It helps if you slightly drape it from one side to the other, so it goes down in between the mounds. Then gently press all the way around each lump, allowing the air to escape on one side.
Then, using a ravioli cutter or simply a knife (which won’t give you the pretty edges, but does exactly the same job!) cut down one side of the lumps, and then the other, about 3/4 of an inch away from the lumps (or more if you want large ravioli).
Then cut in between the lumps, and you have several separate ravioli.
You can either cook them right away, or if you’re being organised and prepping them in advance, sprinkle them with a little flour and leave them to dry on a lightly floured tray. You can layer them on top of one another – they will come apart when cooking.
For the sage butter sauce, simply melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a frying pan, add the sage leaves, and cook until the butter starts to smell slightly nutty and turns a golden brown colour. Pour this over the drained ravioli, and top with fresh black pepper and lashings of parmesan. Pumpkin ravioli par excellence!
I’ve got quite a bit of pumpkin left – what other pumpkin recipes do I need to try? And are you tempted to give pasta-making a go?