I have hereby done battle with pasta dough, and I have to say the pasta dough won. Or, at least, the first time it did.
This recipe ended up making so much filling that we had it two nights in a row, but on the second night I scrapped the semolina-based pasta dough the recipe called for, and instead turned to my tried-and-true basic pasta dough recipe (that came with my kitchen aid pasta attachment). While the semolina might have given the pasta a bit more depth of flavor, it wasn’t worth the hassle of battling with a dense and crumbly dough, forcing it through the pasta roller over and over and over again until you somehow managed to get a piece out big enough for a single ravioli.
Lesson learned – if you plan on making homemade ravioli, have a package of wonton wrappers in the fridge just in case. While I did manage to get a decent dinner out of the first troublesome batch of dough, it would have been much easier to have tossed the crumbly stuff from the getgo and used the wonton wrappers instead. Now I know.
But how did they taste? Quite good, actually! The filling is rich and buttery, with a mild pumpkin flavor and a hint of sage and herbs. We deviated from the sauce in the original recipe (because adding another cup of cream really sounded like overkill), so we attempted a sort of chicken-broth based beurre-blanc sauce. It separated pretty bad on us in the last minute or so, becoming basically a mix of dark brown bits of reduced chicken broth swimming in melted butter. But it still tasted good! I also think it’d be quite good with a brown butter and sage sauce, which, while I’m not a huge fan of sage, works particularly well with pumpkin and/or butternut squash (which you could easily substitute here instead).
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, plus 6 small leaves for garnish
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground white pepper
4 large eggs (about 7/8 cup)
1 tablespoon water
3 1/2 cups sifter all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten lightly, for egg wash
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup white wine
2 shallots, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
Heat a saute pan over low heat and add 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the cubed pumpkin and cook, stirring often to stop it from sticking and burning, until it softens and falls into a puree.
Turn the pumpkin into a saucepan, add 1/2 of the cream and half the herbs and cook over a low heat for approximately 1 hour, or until the puree is thick and the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and beat in an additional 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the beaten eggs, season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set a side to cool.
To make pasta dough, place eggs, water ,flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Pulse/mix about 30 seconds until combined. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Form dough into a flattened disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the pasta as thin as possible. Cut into 2 sheets and brush 1 of them with egg wash. Using a teaspoon, place 24 equal mounds of the pumpkin puree on the egg-washed dough, about 2 inches apart. Cover the mounded dough with the second sheet of pasta and press around the mounds of pumpkin to seal the dough.
Using a ravioli cutter or a sharp knife cut the ravioli. Dust a tray with semolina and place the ravioli on it.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, while you make the sauce.
Prepare the sauce: In a saucepan, reduce the stock with the wine and shallots to 1/2 cup. Simmer until reduced by half. Over a low heat, whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, a little at a time, over low heat. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the ravioli to the rapidly boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Add the ravioli to the sauce and bring just to a boil.
Divide the ravioli among preheated soup dishes and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish each serving with a fresh sage leaf. Serve immediately.