Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli, a delicious filling made of roasted pumpkin, ricotta and breadcrumbs, enveloped in a smooth, light, homemade pasta dough. Cooked in a brown butter, sage and pine nut sauce. Italian Sunday lunch at its best!
Fresh homemade pasta, like this Ravioli, are usually made and enjoyed for the Sunday lunch on an Italian table. They are a treat to be savored at the end of the week, when you can spend some time making them and then enjoying them with your family. All the Sunday lunches I had at my nonna's, or at my mamma's house, included some homemade pasta: fettuccine or lasagna, in my nonna's case; gnocchi, lasagna or ravioli, in my mom's case. Every time, a delectable experience.
We actually made the Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli on a Sunday. As usual, it was our project together, Loreto and mine. We took our time, starting in the early afternoon, making the homemade dough and the filling, and we enjoyed them for dinner. Immensely. But let's go slowly and follow some steps.
Making homemade Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli is not as hard as you might think.
Once you've mastered the homemade dough, you can make any kind of pasta you like. If you have the right tools, even better. The ingredients for the dough are simple: flour and eggs (and a touch of water, in case you feel the dough is too hard, or a touch more flour if the dough is too sticky). My mother taught me that: 100 grams of flour every egg you use, and 1 egg every 2 people. We used 2 eggs, 200 grams of flour (type 00 is the best for a smooth, light dough) and a drop of water.
I like kneading the dough, it reminds me of when I was a child and I used to watch my great grandma or my grandma make fettuccine, their specialty, and I would be standing on a chair, close to them. I'd have my spot on one side of the wood board and my little piece of dough to play with. They did everything by hand, kneading up to 10 eggs of dough, then hand stretching the dough with confident gestures and a rolling pin, to an unbelievable thinness. Finally hand cutting the fettuccine with such precision, each ribbon the exact same size. Arm work and love.
Of course things changed a lot from then. We usually use a food processor to start the dough; it is easy, fast, and the eggs/flour mixture blend so well together. We then turn it on a lightly floured wood board and I start the kneading process. The dough needs to be kneaded attentively and firmly for 5 to 10 minutes, it needs to become smooth and elastic, with practice you will "feel" when the dough is ready, velvety under your touch. You will always end up with a dough "ball" (the same as when making homemade pizza). The dough needs to rest at this point, about 30 minutes, so you can start making the filling.
We had roasted the pumpkin in the morning, with some herbs, e.v.o. oil, salt and pepper, then scooped the pulp and set it in a bowl. When we were ready for the filling, we added ricotta, bread crumbs, more e.v.o. oil, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. We tasted it and it was so good! Then the fun part began, the rolling of the dough. We used a pasta machine that retired after that use. We now have a brand new Kitchen Aid attachment 🙂 . Anyway, usually those pasta machines are pretty good (except for ours), and that's how they work: you need to cut the dough "ball" in slices, sprinkle with some flour, then roll that slice of dough turning the knob each time and starting from the lowest number. At 6 or 7 the dough is pretty thin. The long sheets of dough you obtain are sprinkled with more flour and set to rest for few minutes, not too much or they'll dry out. And do not overlap them, or they'll stick to one another, unless you use a lot of flour in between.
When we were in Rome, last summer, and visiting with my parents, we went shopping to a great Outlet, called Castell Romano Designer Outlet, just outside of Rome and close to the cost (you can already smell the sea air from there). We found this wonderful ravioli mold in a kitchen store and it had to come with us. We love shopping in Castel Romano, there are so many great stores, including designer brands, at some reasonable prices. When Loreto saw this ravioli maker he was excited, and with a bit of a struggle about who was going to buy it, as my father wanted to pay, but we held our own and purchased it. You have to understand, Italian parents want to do everything for their kids, and yes, for them I am still their "kid" and now this "kid" lives far away from them, so if they could they would get me the moon. Anyway, when we are with them it is very hard to pay for things. But occasionally a battle is won.
The use of this mold is quite easy: dust it with some flour, place your dough sheet on the mold making sure it goes over the edge a bit on each side. With your finger gently press down the dough in each pocket. Then with a small spoon scoop some of the pumpkin filling and place it in the dough pocket. Make sure to not put too much as it will cause the filling to go out the sides of the ravioli and when you place the dough sheet over, it will not seal properly. When your top dough sheet is on, take the rolling pin that comes with the ravioli maker and gently roll over the edges and separations of ravioli until you see the metal cutting through the pasta dough. This ensures that the ravioli is sealed and also cuts them in perfect squares. Gently peel the ravioli from the mold and place on a floured baking sheet and sprinkle some more flour on top. Let rest a bit and these beautiful pouches of pumpkin goodness are ready to cook.
Cooking is easy, a pot of boiling water, salted of course, just taste the water to see if it is seasoned enough. In goes the ravioli and when they come to the surface they are ready to be taken out. I use a slotted spoon and I put them into the saute pan with the browned butter, sage and pine nuts. Toss them gently coating them well with this amazing sauce. A little shaved Parmigiano on top. Now the best part, time to eat.
The pasta so tender, flavorful, soft and velvety to your tongue. The pumpkin sweet and savory, wonderfully smooth consistency steamed in that pasta pocket, and so creamy with that ricotta binding all the flavors together. That little bit of nutmeg dancing with your taste buds, and the brown butter sauce infused with the fried sage spicy and so deliciously fragrant. Then to add even more excitement to the textures, a bit of toothiness from the pine nuts. To end things off on a high note the pungent acidity from the shaved Parmigiano with its distinct edginess on the tongue leaves us fulfilled and comfortable, as these Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter, Sage and Pine Nuts, are light and delicate.
Take your time to make these amazing Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli and they can become the star of the show of your next Sunday meal.
Song of the day: "Time (Clock of the Heart)" by Culture Club, my teenage years idol band. Tomorrow they will be in Edmonton for a concert. Of course, we're going to be there! 🙂Print
If you want to cut the time and buy store bought Ravioli, we have a recipe for you: