Pumpkin Ravioli

Ingredients
For the filling:
1. 1 cup ricotta cheese
2. 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3. 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
4. 1 teaspoons fresh basil (or dried)
5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the dough:
6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
8. 1/4 cup tomato paste
9. 1 tablespoon olive oil
10. 2 eggs
11. 2 tablespoons water
For the sauce:
12. 2 tablespoons butter
13. 3 cups milk
14. 3 table spoons all purpose flour
15. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
16. 2 teaspoons sugar
17. Salt to taste
For the garnish:
18. Parmesan cheese
19. Freshly ground black pepper
20. A sprig of parsley

Method:
1. Mix the cheese, the pumpkin, the salt, the garlic and the basil in a bowl.

2. Mix the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Beat the tomato paste, the olive oil and eggs into the flour. If the dough is too dry, mix in up to 2 tablespoons water. Alternately, if the dough is too sticky, add some oil or some more dough until a smooth elastic dough is gotten.
3. Knead the dough well for about about 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a moist cloth or with plastic wrap and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
4. Roll out the dough and cut circles out of it using a glass or any round object. Place a teaspoon (maybe less) of the filling on one half of the circular piece of dough. Fold it over carefully and press down along the circumference, until it is properly sealed. Roll up the edges a little bit, to ensure the little ravioli packet is well made. Leave the ravioli aside to dry for an hour.

5. Cook ravioli in boiling salted water until tender. Drain carefully.
6. Melt the butter in a saucepot. Add the flour and mix well. Add the milk and stir well.
7. Continue stirring. Add in the cayenne pepper, the sugar and the salt. The sauce will begin to thicken. This might take a while.
8. Plate out the ravioli after you have drained it well. Top it with the sauce. Sprinkle some black pepper and parmesan cheese. Add it with a sprig of parsley, for added prettiness.

Notes:
1. I tried being extra smart and using a fresh pumpkin. It was a pain to peel, an even bigger pain to cut into small chunks and a still greater pain to grind to pulp. Leave alone the fact that I threw away about 70% of the pulp because I used only about 1 cup and didn’t know what to do with the rest.

2. Pumpkin seeds can be dried, cracked and eaten. They’re really tasty. I saved the seeds from the pumpkin I used.
3. Drying is an essential part of the process. If you don’t dry the ravioli out, there is a chance it might open up while you boil.

4. When you slide the ravioli into your pot of boiling water, it sinks to the bottom. It gradually rises (not all the way to the top) and begins to float. That will probably tell you when it’s done.

5. The recipe is extremely tedious. And the result only average. The pasta was too bland for my liking. That explains the spiced up white sauce.
6. It’s on my blog because I had been craving to make ravioli for a few months. I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home unless you’re overly enthusiastic or a pro. I, however, might give it another shot with some mushroom and spinach ravioli with garlic butter and chives. Someday.

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