Are you ready, y'all? It's November, and I know you thought we ate a lot of pumpkin-flavored things once fall hit, but November is for real. November leads up to the best pumpkin dish there is on turkey day — pumpkin pie. And though I could definitely eat pumpkin pie for 26 days until Thanksgiving arrived, I kind of like to save that magical dish for the big day because I like putting things on pedestals and looking forward to them and eating them at the perfect time and that time only.
But, pumpkin everything else is a go. So far this month (yes, it's day three), I have eaten maple pecan pumpkin cornbread, a pumpkin cappuccino, this amazing bruléed maple bourbon pumpkin pie (OKAY I LIED, I ALREADY ATE PUMPKIN PIE, I COULDN'T WAIT) and these pumpkin raviolis.
I had never really considered pumpkin ravioli until I moved to Italy, but they're probably one of the best pumpkin dishes I've ever had. Known as zucca ravioli, we ate these babies at the pumpkin festival in Ghizzole Montegaldella last month and I was over the moon and suddenly became very bad at sharing.
The pumpkin festival we attended was one of the biggest and best festivals I've been to in Italy — and that's saying a lot. If you thought Americans loved food, just watch the Italians put them to shame. They have a festival or two every weekend throughout the spring, summer and fall (fireworks included – it can be a burden), highlighting whatever is being harvested or some sort of dish. It's quite awesome, if you like food, which of course I do. There was unfortunately no picking of your own pumpkin at said pumpkin festival, which bummed my flannel-clad self out, but stuffing my face made up for it.
I learned how to make this pumpkin ravioli where I learned all my other favorite fall recipes — in a cooking class with Lucas Migliorelli. Seriously, come to Italy and we'll go. He's a sweetheart. Because there's nothing worse than traveling and falling in love with a dish and discovering you'll never be able to eat it again — unless you learn how to make it yourself, and you can with him!
special appliances: pasta maker or beefy forearms and a rolling pin
makes about 24 ravioli
for the filling
- 1 cup cooked squash (see directions on how to cook)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 crushed amaretti biscuits, or 2 crushed gingersnaps
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- dash salt
- dash white pepper
for the dough
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs
for the sauce & topping
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 20 fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 cup balsamic glaze or reduction
- freshly grated parmesan
- If you already have cooked squash, you can skip this step (I recommend not using canned pumpkin, but I've cheated in the past, too). Preheat oven to 350F, and place squash on a cookie sheet and cook for one hour until soft. Remove and cool. This recipe used about 1/4 of an acorn squash for me — slice and remove the seeds and skin and mash together. If you have excess, store in an airtight container and freeze (make soup!).
- In a medium bowl, combine all the filling ingredients (if you used the parmesan in the plastic tube, we're over) and mash together with a fork. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine dough ingredients and mix together until incorporated. Once the dough seems combined, knead it on a floured work surface for 3-4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Once the dough has set, break out the pasta maker. If you don't have a pasta maker, you can try rolling out the dough — just make sure you have a well-floured work surface and that you roll out the dough very, very thin. I don't recommend this method, but I realize not everyone has a pasta maker. If you have the pasta maker, feed the dough through settings 0-6 once. Roll it through 7 twice, then set out the dough — it should be long. You should have twice as much dough as you do filling.
- Lay out the dough and dollop 2 tablespoons of filling 1-inch apart on the dough. Lightly brush the perimeter of the filling with water — this is to help seal the dough (you can use your finger for this). Cover the filling with another sheet of dough and gently press the palm of your hand onto the filling — this will slightly flatten the filling and reduce air bubbles. Using the side of your hand, flatten the dough between the fillings to establish your ravioli.
- Use a pasta cutter (or a knife, if you don't have one) to cut between the raviolis. Using a fork, crimp all four sides of the ravioli together — it is very important to make sure all the sides are sealed together properly — if they aren't, you could lose filling when they're cooking. Set ravioli aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If you are making the ravoli ahead of time, boil them for one minute, strain and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you are eating them right away, boil for 4 minutes (yes — stop overcooking your pasta, America) then drain and set aside.
- In a pot, melt butter and add sage, cooking for 2-3 minutes until you can smell the sage. On low heat, sauté the ravioli just briefly to get the sage + butter flavor.
- Set ravioli on a plate. Garnish with cooked sage leaves, parmesan and serve with balsamic glaze (optional, but delicious). Devour and enjoy!
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2015. All rights reserved. Recipe adapted from Cooking with Lucas.