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swirl and savor

Savory Pumpkin Ravioli in Sage and Butter

Beth Ribblett

I managed to get out of town for a few days this weekend and took a quick trip to visit my family in Pennsylvania.  The cool fall weather and changing leaves have been a refreshing change from the still way to hot temperatures in New Orleans!  I always like to cook something special when I'm here and the abundance of autumn veggies and gourds inspired me to make homemade Pumpkin Ravioli.  My sous chef Rika and I spent the afternoon on Sunday making fresh pasta and while they weren't too sure about pumpkin and sage together, the meal was a hit even with the most picky eaters.

My standard fresh pasta recipe is Lidia Bastianich's from her book Lidia's Italian Table. It is simple, delicate and comes out perfect every time I've made it. I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer or the initial blending and then add the pasta roller attachments  when it is time to roll it out. When possible, I like to use farm fresh eggs (the fresher the better) that we buy at the Crescent City Farmer's Market. Click here for my step by step instructions for making fresh pasta, Pasta all'Uovo, Basic Egg Pasta.

Once you have gotten to the point in the dough recipe where you "Roll the dough into a smooth ball. Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or up to 1 day in the refrigerator, before rolling and shaping the pasta. If the dough has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before rolling and shaping.", you can now make the filling while the dough is resting.

Makes 6 generous servings

For the filling:
    16 oz. ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
    16 oz. pumpkin puree
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    Freshly grated nutmeg

For the sauce (to dress about 1/3 of the ravioli):
    1 stick unsalted butter
    20 sage leaves (plus additional for garnish, if desired)
    Handful Almond Slivers
   1/4 cup pine nuts
    Kosher salt
    Parmesan shavings

 While the pasta dough rests, combine the ricotta, pumpkin, egg, Kosher salt, and some freshly ground nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon mat and lightly flour.

 Once the dough has rested, use a pasta machine to roll the pasta out into thin, wide sheets. I did not have my ravioli mold with me, so we used a juice glass for round ravioli.  I like to lightly mark the pasta sheets with the glass before I spoon on the filling.  Place spoons of the filling in the circles on the dough, and using a small brush, lightly dampen the edges with water to help seal.  Top with another sheet of pasta dough.  Using the glass, press down through both sheets to cut, pinch the edges with your fingers, dust with flour and place on the baking sheet.  At this point you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a day before you do the final steps.

The pine nuts and almonds are a garnish and need to be roasted/toasted until they darken slightly, be careful not to burn them.  Once you've done this, grind about 2/3 of the mixture, leaving the other third whole, combine the two and set aside until you're ready to garnish.

To prepare the ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, in batches, pushing the ravioli back down into the boiling water with a wooden spoon as it floats to the top.  Drain the ravioli and set aside.

Meanwhile, brown the butter in a large skillet.  Add the sage and cook for a few extra minutes. Transfer the ravioli to the pan and toss gently in the sauce.  Serve immediately topped with the nut mixture and some shaved Parmesan cheese.