Pumpkin Ravs (with Sage Brown Butter Sauce)

Pumpkin Ravs (with Sage Brown Butter Sauce)

This summer we had a plot in a community garden and grew all sorts of amazing things.  We’re talking okra out the wazoo, beautiful tomatoes, and adorable patty-pan squash.  But Frank’s favorite garden veggies were the pumpkins.  Man, oh man, the pumpkins.  We planted them just as an experiment, but they quickly took over the entire 10×20 plot, wrapping over and around everything in sight.  But, as pumpkins are prone to do (especially during this summer’s fickle weather), most of them rotted as they matured, so we were only left with 3 little beauties.  Back in October we slaughtered the youngest two and made pumpkin puree (for the first time, and MAN, no one tells you how much work that is…) and used half of the mush in pumpkin bread and froze the rest.

Fast forward to Tuesday night, Thanksgiving week.  Knowing our entire 4-day weekend would be filled with traditional dishes (that, frankly, I could make with a hand behind my back, blindfolded, and on vicodin), we yearned to spice it up beforehand with something more adventurous.  Earlier that day I watched Lydia Bastianich make butternut squash ravioli, and I was sold; and there was pumpkin in the freezer to boot!  (Didn’t use Lydia’s recipe, though–used Martha’s, as you will see later)

I had never made pasta dough before, and the idea of doing so scared the crap outta me, but Martha’s recipe called for store-bought fresh pasta sheets, and we all know you can’t find that in the Hy-Vee across the street.  So I dug in and made my first from-scratch dough.  I’m not going to give you a recipe, because mine wasn’t AMAZING, and there are a million recipes out there, but I’ll just say I used about 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, some salt, olive oil, and water and whizzed it around in the food processor.

I made one little mistake, and that was I rolled the pasta dough a little too thick.  (I rolled it out by hand, but this is clearly one of those “I wish I had a pasta roller” moments–Christmas present??)  The ravs weren’t ruined, but they were noticeably a little tough, not really very fluffy.  But that pumpkin filling.  MAN OH MAN.  Rockasaurus Rex.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
(recipe from Martha Stewart)

For the ravioli:
1 cup of pumpkin puree*
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 gingersnap cookies, crushed (we grated ours for a finer crumb)**
2 tablespoons marscapone cheese (or ricotta–but why would you?)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to season
pasta dough rolled flat and thin (You can either make yours or buy fresh pasta sheets)

For the sauce:
4 tbsp butter
6 fresh sage leaves
balsamic vinegar

Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg (beaten),  cookies, cheeses and nutmeg in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper (should we even write this?).  If the consistancy is too runny, add some more crushed cookies.  You want the filling to be pretty thick so it won’t leak out of the raviolis.

Now, take a circular cookie cutter (or biscuit cutter) and cut rounds out of the pasta dough.  Put a tiny dollop of filling in the center of a round (about a teaspoon, but you’ll have to experiment to see what works best) and then wet the edges of the round with water.  Fold the round in half around the filling and press down on the edges for  a seal.  You don’t want the filling to seep out!  You can leave the raviolis like that, or you can form them into little cappelletti like we did by joining the corners.  Doesn’t matter!  Store the little pasta gems on a cookie sheet with some flour until they are all finished.  Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Boil some salted water in a big pot. Once the water has boiled, add the raviolis and cook them until they start to float (about 4 minutes–this is pretty fast).  While they cook, go ahead and make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a skillet with the sage leaves at a medium-high heat.  You can chop or tear the leaves, but we left them whole.  Once the butter is melted and starts to brown, add a large splash or balsamic vineagar (to your liking) and a ladle-full of boiling pasta water.  Let this cook down a little bit until it looks like a sauce, and add the raviolis to it fresh from their cooking water.  Don’t worry about draining them too well–a little extra water will not ruin the sauce.  Toss all the raviolis with sauce until they are coated well, and serve with some parmesan cheese on top.

If you have any raviolis left over, you can freeze them (uncooked).  They won’t be as brilliant, but they’ll still be pretty darn good–we suggest you do so!

*Okay, Martha roasts her sugar pumpkin with olive oil and brown sugar.  We just used our own puree, and you could easily use canned pumpkin.  We just added a little brown sugar to the mixture to make up for it.  If you roast the pumpkin Martha’s way, don’t add the extra brown sugar.  Okay?

**Martha used amaretti cookies.  But, really, the HyVee doesn’t have amaretti.  So… gingersnaps are hot.

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