Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Ravioli with Fried Sage Butter

This post should really be titled, "What NOT to do When Making Pumpkin Ravioli".
What a fiasco. With the disastrous part being discovered upon returning home from a movie after 9:30 on a week night and still needing to have dinner. We THOUGHT we had this taken care of by making the ravioli ahead and refrigerating it until we got home. That turned out to be a bad idea. (We think.)

Here's the whole story:

It's a couple days before our anniversary and we've decided to celebrate early so as to have a whole day instead of just the few evening hours allowed us on week nights. We wanted to make a special dinner, something we could have fun with in the kitchen and yet be done in stages so we could go see a movie (something we rarely do). We set our sights on home made ravioli, something we've made several times before and always enjoy.

This time it was pumpkin ravioli, one I had seen various recipes for and articles about recently. We didn't really follow any one recipe, but made up the filling ourselves inspired from various recipes.

For the Filling:

1 can pumpkin
4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt

This was blended up and set aside while we made the pasta dough in the Cuisinart and then rolled it out with our pasta maker. We made a double batch of pasta thinking we could freeze the extra ravioli to have on hand for later. In the end we were glad for that extra ravioli, but not for the reason we had planned.

For the Pasta Dough:
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 large egg
warm water as needed

Place the flour and egg in the Cuisinart and blend for 30 seconds. If the dough comes together into a ball that does not stick to the sides of the bowl, then there is no need to add any water. If the mixture is more of a crumb, then add a small amount of warm water while the machine is still going, until a ball forms. At this point run the Cuisinart for about 45 seconds longer. This kneads the dough.

We then used our pasta maker to roll out the dough. And here is were we may have started on the path of disaster. We went one level thinner on the dough than perhaps we should of, wanting a more tender ravioli. However the moisture level in the filling may have been too much for this thin of dough.

We filled and pinched closed the raviolis and then layered them on floured parchment paper and placed them in the refrigerator. This may be the other place where things went wrong. We've never made our ravioli and then put off boiling them for several hours. The combination of the very moist filling, the thinness of the dough and the refrigeration process resulted in very fragile sticky raviolis that would not come loose from the floured paper. We lost over a third of them while trying to get them off the paper and into the boiling water. We lost the filling of several more while they were being boiled.

We still managed to get enough to have a filling dinner, thus the reason we were grateful for making a double batch. The filling itself was only so-so. I would either add some sweetener, perhaps maple syrup or agave syrup, or cut the nutmeg out and use a touch of sage to the filling.

The Fried Sage Butter that we dressed the pasta with was amazing and I plan on using it again for other pasta dishes in the future.

For the Fried Sage Butter:

1/4 cup butter
1 T olive oil
6 sage leaves cut into small strips

Melt the butter in a pan with the olive oil, then add the sage and fry till crisp.

I might even add more sage next time. Sage can be an overwhelming herb, but fried this way it was mellowed signifigantly. And oh so delicious.

We had a side of asparagus roasted in the oven with a little oilve oil and salt to complete the meal and dispite the meal not coming out as planned, it was still tasty and well enjoyed.

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