The days are short, the clocks have gone back and there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees: Autumn is well under way! And is there any vegetable that symbolises Autumn more than the pumpkin?
This recipe is another inspired by my recent trip to Lombardy in Northern Italy. Italians eat a lot more pumpkin than we do in the UK and it is a classic ravioli filling.
Ideally you will need a pasta machine but it can be done with a rolling pin. I’ve always followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for egg pasta (there is a link to his recipe here with more detail than I have included). Making your own pasta is very rewarding and making enough for a starter is not too labour intensive. I served three ravioli per person, each ravioli being about 10cm in diameter.
The dish should be light and showcase the filling. Pumpkin is fairly sweet and has a slightly almond flavour. The addition of the cheese, sage and nuts complement it perfectly. Pumpkin could be substituted with any squash easily (butternut is a favourite) and the walnuts could be swapped with pine nuts or almonds if you prefer.
Fried sage leaves are used a lot in Italy and are really lovely. The sage goes crispy and the flavour becomes concentrated.
My tips for ravioli: keep the pasta thin and squash all the air out when you seal the filling. If you leave an air bubble they are more likely to burst when cooked.
Serves 2-3 as a starter
For the pasta:
- 200g of Tipo ’00’ durum wheat pasta flour
- 2 eggs
For the filling:
- A small pumpkin or large squash
- Olive oil
- A handful of grated fresh Parmesan
For the dressing:
- Olive oil
- Fresh sage leaves
- Shelled walnuts
- Scoop the seeds and centre from the pumpkin and slice into chunks. (We wanted to carve our pumpkin for Halloween so I scooped out the flesh at this stage but was much more difficult).
- Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and place in oven, preheated to 180c.
- Cook until tender (this will take approx. 30 minutes).
- Meanwhile make your pasta dough: mix the eggs and the flour. Once combined nead aggressively until a smooth elastic dough is formed.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once the pumpkin is tender, scoop out the flesh, tip into a bowl and mash together with the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust accordingly.
- Pass the dough through your pasta machine on the largest setting. Fold in half and pass through again. Repeat about 6 times.
- Pass through the machine again (without folding), dialling down the thickness each time until the machine is on the lowest setting.
- Lay a length of pasta out of a lightly floured surface.
- Place a spoonful of filling at intervals along the strip allowing room for a margin of pasta around each filling.
- Using cold water, moisten around each mound of filling (this will cause it to seal).
- Place another length of pasta over the top.
- Press down around each mound of filling, pressing all the air out and sticking the pasta down around it.
- Using a biscuit cutter (or I used an upside down mug as couldn’t find one big enough), cut the ravioli out with the mound of filling in the centre and a margin of pasta around.
- Repeat until you have enough.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
- Place the pasta into the water. They will take about 3-5 minutes to cook.
- Meanwhile melt some butter with some olive oil in a in a frying pan.
- Fry the sage until crispy (takes about a minute).
- Add the walnuts and take off the heat.
- Once the pasta is cooked drain and plate up, using the oil/sage/walnuts to dress.