Pumpkin Parmesan Ravioli with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
I had more pumpkin left over from Halloween carving fun so I decided to look ahead and think about how I might use pumpkin for Thanksgiving in something other than a pie. These fresh ravioli, stuffed with pumpkin, parmesan cheese and herbs and served in a garlicky pumpkin cream, would make a good primi piatti for an Italian-style holiday meal.
Filling and cream sauce:
1/2 an 8" pumpkin, seeds and pulp removed
1 medium onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, fine dice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 T fresh oregano, minced
2 T fresh flatleaf parsley, minced
1 egg white
4 T bread crumbs
1/4 C Parmeggiano Reggiano, shredded
1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1/4 C heavy cream
salt, hot sauce to taste
1 cup flour
1 T milk
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut the pumpkin into 4 or 5 large pieces. Oil a jelly roll pan and place the pumpkin on it, skin side down. Brush pumpkin meat with olive oil. Roast for 1 hour, until fork tender. Allow to cool, remove and discard pumpkin skin. Mash the roasted pumpkin with a potato masher. (There should be about 4 cups of pumpkin.)
Sauté the onion, carrot and 3/4 of the garlic on medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Mix with the pumpkin. Reserve 1/2 of the mixture for the sauce.
For the ravioli filling, combine the remaining pumpkin mixture with the cumin, oregano, parsley, egg white, bread crumbs, and cheese. Correct seasoning.
To make the pasta, form a mound with the flour on the work surface and with a spoon create a well in the center. Break the eggs into the well, add the milk and with a fork break the yolks and carefully combine the eggs with the flour. Flour the board and knead the dough 8 - 10 minutes, until it is nice and springy and nearly as smooth as a baby's bottom. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and wrap three pieces tightly in plastic wrap. Stretch the remaining piece through the pasta machine, starting with several passes with the machine set on notch #1 and then progressively through notches 2 through 8. Immediately cut the pasta sheets into rectangles 3" wide and place a generous tablespoon of filling on the sheets at 3" intervals. Fold the pasta sheets over the filling, pressing the edges together. Using a ravioli-cutter (fluted wheel), cut the ravioli apart. Place on a clean towel. Repeat this process with the other three pieces of dough.
For the sauce, add the chicken broth to the reserved pumpkin mixture and simmer 10 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and purée the mixture. Stir in the cream and correct the seasoning.
Cook the ravioli in a large heavy pot in plenty of well-salted water. Cook in at least two batches to avoid crowding, removing the first batch to a warmed and buttered plate while the second batch is cooking. Toss the ravioli into the rapidly boiling water and stir to keep the water moving and the ravioli separated for the first minute of cooking. Cook for about three minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.
To serve, place a pool of the sauce on the plate and the ravioli on top of the cream. Garnish with fresh minced herbs.
Yield: about 24 generously-sized ravioli.
Note: butternut squash or other winter sqush can be used in place of pumpkin if you prefer.