These misty days just scream for bright food and things don’t get much brighter than pumpkin. Ravioli was also what my stomach demanded and rather than pop to Farringdon Road and buy my pasta fix from Gazzano’s I though I’d make my own.
It all very simple and like any craft rather soothing, but with moments of frustration. I learned fresh pasta making during my stays in in Italy and love it texture and silkiness. I also learnt most definitely that dried pasta was often the pasta of choice and that you never, never put oil in the pasta water to cook it.
Many of my most humiliating food moments have been when in Italy: asking for cappuccino after 11 am, hanging onto your red wine when you have asked for dessert, wanted Parmesan on seafood risotto…….. My cheeks have stung often with the scorn of the waiter as I make yet another Faux Pas!
But I have learned and now only drink macchiato after 11am and finish my wine before ordering dessert. I do occasionally add Parmesan to crab risotto but only in the privacy of my own home and then only when the curtains are drawn!
So to the pasta: I make mine in a food processor though any freestanding mixer works well and I would use a dough hook in preference, or naturally you can knead the dough by hand.
I use the usual ration of eggs to flour: 100gms pasta flour to 1 medium egg just adding a couple of pinches of salt. If my egg is a bit on the large side I add flour a sprinkle at a time. It’s worth spending time getting the texture right so the pasta rolls evenly. It should be malleable but not stick to the heel of your hand when push away from you.
To make the filling I roasted a butternut squash with olive oil and a few cloves of garlic until it was soft. I then peeled the squash and whizzed it in a processor with plenty of freshly ground pepper and lots of fresh Parmesan. Nutmeg or cinnamon would work and many add amoretti biscuit crumbs but I find that makes the finished dish too sweet.
As the sage in my garden was way past it’s best I used a sauce of warm extra virgin oil with chopped pecans, fresh thyme leave and some lemon zest.
300gm pasta flour
3 medium eggs
2 pinches salt
I medium butternut squash
4 plump cloves garlic
90gm finely grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fresh thyme leaves
30gms pecan or walnuts finely chopped
a little finely grated lemon zest
Make the pasta by mixing the flour and salt with the eggs, kneading until you have a smooth firm dough.
Allow it to rest under an up turned bowl for 30 minutes
Cut the squash into pieces and place in a dish in the oven with the garlic and a little oil roasting until soft.
Peel off the skin and peel the garlic cloves. Whiz the flesh with the cheese and season well.
I lay the made ravioli on trays dusted with polenta to stop them sticking.
Bring a big pan of water to the boil add a couple of tablespoons of salt to it and when you’re ready drop in the ravioli. They will need about 3 minutes rapid boiling though the degree of “al dente” is personal!
While the pasta cooks warm the oil, nuts and herbs together and when the pasta is drained toss the ravioli in this sauce.
Serve at once.