Out of the Pumpkin Patch, Into the Kitchen

Slain Pumpkin

This fall, I picked up some gorgeous, locally grown heirloom pumpkins at my local farmer’s market. They’ve been nicely behaved, considering how thick-skinned they are. I placed them artfully on a little stepstool in a corner of my living room, told them to “STAY!”, and they’ve been sitting there obediently for months now, never once moving a warty stem or making a sound. Thank you pumpkins, for being dear, quiet little companions.

But now, they’ve reached old age. I detect liver spots, soft muscle tone and a tiny bit of leakage from their bottoms (poor things, it happens to all of us, I’m afraid). Off to the chopping block they must go! But don’t feel bad for them. Not everything gets the chance to be reborn as a tasty ravioli stuffing.

T made fresh pasta dough (I know! That’s why I married him), along with The Old Man (my brother-in-law), and I hacked a pumpkin open with a one-two combo of meat cleaver and rubber mallet. Try it, it doesn’t require too much strength, and feels very satisfying.

I roasted the pumpkin for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees, spooned out the pulp, and mixed in the seasonings. You can make this whole recipe very easily by roasting a butternut squash instead, (or use -gasp!- canned pumpkin), and using wonton wrappers, which are readily available at the grocery store, or ready-made pasta dough from your local Italian market.

This is one of my favorite things to eat on the planet.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Parmesan and Sage Butter

makes 2 dozen
1 cup roasted pumpkin puree, or canned pumpkin
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or softened butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 package wonton wrappers (24 wrappers)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves

Mash together the pumpkin, mascarpone, Parmesan, thyme and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin mixture on 12 of the wonton wrappers. Lightly brush the edges with egg white, and top with the remaining wrappers, pressing the edges to seal. You can also use a ravioli crimper-cutter, if you find one in your gadget drawer.
Fill your biggest pot with water, add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Drop in the ravioli, about 6 at a time, and cook until they are floating and tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
Melt the stick of butter over medium-high heat until bubbling subsides. Throw in the sage leaves and cook for 1 minute. Pour the butter sauce over the ravioli, and serve with additional Parmesan cheese at the table.

Basic Pasta Dough
Adapted from Mario Batali’s Babbo Cookbook

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Place the flour in a very large bowl or mound on a work surface. Make a well in the middle of the flour; add the eggs and olive oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil, then begin to incorporate the inner rim of the well of flour.
Gradually add more and more flour to the eggs until a dough comes together.
Start kneading the dough with the heels of your hands. When you have a cohesive mass, scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly flour your work surface, and knead the dough for a few minutes, until it’s soft, smooth and slightly sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes before rolling out in a pasta maker.

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food


Kalyn said...

Wow, this does sound amazing.

Kristen said...

Ditto what Kalyn said. Incredible!!

Alanna said...

Slain pumpkin, dead chicken, they make for good eats. I'm hoping for a pasta lesson some day ...

Dana said...

I must also say that there isn't anything nicer than a man in the kitchen. Or vacuuming.