Homemade Pumpkin Ravioli

>> Friday, 16 July 2010

There are so many factors that come into play when deciding whether to cook a dish or buy a dish ready made....Have I got the time? How much does it cost to buy? How much time will it take me to prepare? Is there really going to be a noticeable difference between the bought and made dish?.....

I think that, when faced with these questions, there are a few core staples that often get the 'buy' rather than 'make' decision. For me, there are:

  • Pastry (I'm still not very good at this!)
  • Bread (so much kneading and proving and waiting etc...)
  • Pasta (so much equipment required and so many nice, ready made choices

However, I have learnt that when you tackle these and take on their challenge, they seem to generate happiness in abundance for you and for others. Part pride and part amazement that you can pull it off, the feeling they generate ensures that the occasional 'make' decision for these pays off.

Pasta has been the one I've avoided for some time, assuming you need so much equipment to do it. So, I bought the equipment (the pasta maker, ravioli mould etc...) and actually found that it worked better when I just used a rolling pin and my fingers! A food mixer with a dough hook will make the kneading stage considerably easier, but it's by no means a requirement. You'll just have to get your arm muscles ready otherwise...

I made pumpkin and sweet potato ravioli (inspired by a Rick Stein recipe), but once you've cracked it, you can play around with the fillings to your hearts delight! I fancy making a goats cheese and pesto filling next time.....

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Ravioli with Sage Butter (serves 4 as a starter)

  • 225g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 4 medium eggs, yolks only
  • 300g pumpkin and sweet potato mix (I used Sainsbury's prepared bag)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (grind lightly in pestle and mortar)
  • 1 medium egg, yolk only
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 amaretti biscuits (crushed)
  • 15g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • seasoning
Sage Butter
  • 75g salted butter
  • 20 sage leaves

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200c/GM 6. Spread the pumpkin and sweet potato in a even layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes

Step 2: Whilst vegetables are roasting, make the pasta. In a large bowl (or food mixer bowl) add all the pasta ingredients and mix together. Then you'll need to knead. If you have a dough hook, attach to mixer and let it do it's thing for 10 minutes. If you haven't, flour your surface and knead for 10 minutes. Essentially you need to create a pliable, elastic dough.

Step 3: Wrap your pasta dough in cling-film and rest for 20 minutes

Step 4: Remove your roasted vegetables and puree them (either with a blender stick or the back of a fork). Add to the vegetables all of the remaining filling ingredients and stir through to combine

Step 5: If you have a pasta machine, divide your dough into manageable pieces and feed through the machine (you'll need to work it down to setting number 2 for ravioli). If you've not got a machine, don't worry! Just take small pieces of pasta and roll them into a thin disk on a lightly floured surface
Step 6: Cut the pasta into squares (about 8cm squared - but you don't need to be too exact!) and add a tsp of the filling in the middle

Step 7: Fold the pasta over the filling so all the sides meet. Squeeze out any air and press the sides together to seal them (you may need to add a little water to the edge with your finger if it's not sticking). Repeat until all of your filling has been used (should make about 16).

Step 8: Boil a saucepan of salted water and reduce to a simmer. Gently place your ravioli into the water and cook for about 4 minutes

Step 9: Whilst the ravioli is cooking, make your sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan on a high heat. Add the sage leaves to fry in the butter (the butter should start to foam). Remove from the heat.

Step 10: Drain you ravioli and place on warmed dishes. Pour over your sage butter and serve.

So there you have it. Fresh pasta, straight from your kitchen! Realistically, this takes a least 1 hour to prepare, so I think it's more of a special occasion dish...on week nights I'll revert to the ready made option!

Top Tips
  • There are a few tools you can invest in if you want to create less rustic ravioli....

  • A pasta maker will be a good investment if you want to make lasagna sheets, spaghetti etc.. You can get manual or automatic ones...Honestly though, I think you need to make pasta quite a lot to justify the investment
Hope you enjoy,
Helen x

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