Cooking from Scratch: Homemade Pumpkin Ravioli
After taking a cooking class at the Viking School in Pennsylvania, my friends Jenn and Diana became raviolis, that is, ladies who know how to make ravioli! I remember making pasta from scratch a few times as a young child, but as it had been many years, I was very excited when Diana invited me over to make homemade pumpkin ravioli with them.
Thus, one Saturday, after apple picking with Heather & Mark, my lovely husband dropped me off at Garen & Diana’s house to make ravioli. After chatting a bit and enjoying a delicious dough wrapped fig spread filled brie, we got to work. Luckily the boys went out (ok, we kicked them out) because we needed all the space we could get!
Garen, Diana, Me, PhillyBoy
Jenn came a few minutes later:
So many websites have great how to’s on ravioli, so rather than repeating that here, I will share our experience and my impressions. Our pumpkin filling for our ravioli was based off this recipe.
There are only a few steps to making homemade ravioli:
1. Make the dough and let it rest.
2. Make the filling.
3. Roll out the dough.
4. Assemble the ravioli and boil in water for a few minutes.
Following the recipe Diana had from their cooking class, we quickly made the dough in her food processor. It took a total of 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe how fast it came together. Before I could even comment on how I should start making pasta every weekend, however, the girls reminded me of the tedious step of rolling out the dough.
Making the dough:
Letting it rest:
Luckily there are various kinds of pasta machines to help you roll out a beautiful dough. If you have a KitchenAid mixer or anything similar, you should get the pasta roller attachment as it makes the process much smoother. Alternately, you can buy the old school hand crank pasta machine that secures to your table much like a woodshop tool would.
We made a basic pumpkin filling of pumpkin puree (Libby’s brand- the best), cinnamon, manchego, salt, pepper, and an egg. Then it was time to roll out the dough! Jenn was very methodical about it and made beautiful thin long rectangles of dough just waiting to be made into ravioli! She taught me that the dough is thin enough when you can see your hand through it. It is especially important to make the dough really thin with ravioli as you press two pieces together to form each piece of the pasta.
Filling the dough was actually the easiest part. We dropped small spoons of the filling a few inches apart on one sheet of dough and then brushed around it with an egg wash. Then Jenn slowly dropped a second piece of rolled out dough over the first one while I pressed out all the air. You want to make sure you have a tight connection between the two pieces of dough and no air either.
Diana proudly carrying a tray of finished raviolis… She is having a baby soon!!!!! Love the flour handprint Isn’t she gorgeous?!!?
By the time the ravioli were ready to be cooked all three of us were no longer as hungry as we had been upon arriving. I blame Diana’s brie, which really was delicious and perfect for the fall season. I have never tried brie before but with the combination of fig spread and dough, it was amazing. Diana is a great cook!
Before cutting into it:
The solution to our full bellies was to make a lighter sauce than the traditional butter sage sauce that is usually found with pumpkin ravioli. I reached into my creative side of my brain to put together a lighter sauce, and with the girls’ permission I made it. Fresh pasta takes a lot less time to cook than dried pasta. You really just drop it in boiling water until it reaches the surface, about 2 minutes. While we cooked the ravioli (in batches) I made the sauce. Luckily, my friends liked it (at least they said they did!). I will share the recipe with you below, but only if you promise to make it!
The end result, after a few fun hours of work:
With our pumpkin ravioli Diana made an amazing fall salad. It was mixed greens with some type of maple dressing, dried cranberries, sugary pecans, and pears. It was really delicious and was perfect in combination with the ravioli.
Cooking such an ambitious dish from scratch was really the perfect way to enjoy a perfect fall evening. It is a fun project that everyone should take on now and again. There is no need to be afraid of making mistakes, because it is through those mistakes that we learn to cook! I remember many times in my late teens trying to make a dish and completely failing. Those fails have taught me just as much as the successful ones have.
Yes, making the ravioli and eating it did take a few hours, but it was a few hours spent having fun with friends and enjoying life. I suggest you all pick a fun but ambitious dish to make in the next few weeks and just go for it! The time is now!
Thank you for letting me share this wonderful experience with you. Both Diana and Jenn are great cooks, and I can’t wait until the next time we cook from scratch together!
I leave you with my pumpkin cream sauce, a super easy and quick way to bring a little fall into your life. While it does use butter and cream, the amounts are much less than your traditional cream sauce, yet it adds a lot of, well, creaminess to the dish.
Pumpkin Cream Sauce
*Pairs well with pumpkin ravioli
1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2-1 cup water
dash of cinnamon and salt
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk (use a pan that won’t ruin with the whisk- I suggest a stainless steel one). Once the flour has incorporated, add the cream, salt, and cinnamon. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes until that incorporates. Add the pumpkin and 1/4 cup water. While the pumpkin will further thicken the sauce, the water should thin it out a bit. If it is still not as thin as you would like it, add more water 1/4 cup at a time. I found that 1/2 cup water was the right amount for me. Serve immediately.