As we step into Autumn and turn the calendar to October, it has become time for all things pumpkin. Everybody has a pumpkin spice this or a pumpkin flavored that. I’m not normally one to jump onto “what everybody else is doing”, but I do have a pumpkin dish I think is worthy of the season. Today, I’m sharing my recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Mushroom Sage Pan Sauce. I’m also going to let you in on the inspiration for the dish!
A few years back, we spent time traveling throughout Spain. Our first stop was Barcelona. As is our custom, on the first day our first stop is a local market. This is so we can buy local foods that will be our breakfasts and snacks for our time in that area. It is one of our favorite parts of travel because it helps quickly connect us with the local community. It also ensures we are eating fresh and local. We avoid overly ‘touristy’ destinations. So we weren’t going to La Boqueria — Barcelona’s most well known market. Instead, we went to our personal favorite, the Santa Caterina Market.
Santa Catarina has a restaurant inside where we had lunch when we were done shopping. I had Xistorra and poached eggs. Xistorra, or Chistorra, is a thin variety of chorizo associated with the Navarre and Basque regions of northern Spain. They were delicious, but not the story. Today’s post is about what the Elegant Baker had for lunch — a dish I don’t typically associate with Spain. She had some pumpkin raviolis with a mushroom sauce. The dish was excellent, and the Elegant Baker still talks about it. Great food in a small restaurant in a local market. Yet another reason to visit the local markets!
Bringing the Dish Home
In addition to having a delightful pumpkin filling, the ravioli were a distinct shade of orange to remind you of pumpkin. I couldn’t quite tell if there was pumpkin flavor in the pasta dough, but it definitely had an orange hue. The sauce was best described as a light pan sauce with sauteed mushrooms. But the flavor was complex, and I didn’t quite work out everything that was in it. As a personal disappointment, it also turns out I didn’t take any pictures of the dish 🙁
When we returned home, I decided to recreate the dish as best I could from memory. I had several challenges to do this. Recreating the color of the pasta dough. Working out what was in the filling. And trying my hand at a mushroom pan sauce I that I wasn’t sure of to begin with. What follows below is where I got to on all of this. And yes, as I worked it all out, I tended to drift more to my Italian roots with the addition of parmesan and sage. So no, this isn’t EXACTLY what we had is Spain. But it is definitely inspired by that, and still representative of the Mediterranean.
Making Pumpkin Ravioli isn’t particularly hard. But it does take some time and a willingness to adapt some of your skills. The basic process involves making and rolling a pasta dough, filling it with a pumpkin filling, and cooking. The recipe at the end looks long and daunting. But it is easy to break up into distinct steps so there is no need to do this all in one day.
The first thing I decided to tackle was the filling. With some trial and error, I arrived at the process below. I will tell you that I tried an ‘all pumpkin’ filling, and found the flavor a bit overpowering, and not the subtle flavor of the dish from Spain. When I blended with some cheese, it suited my taste much better.
If you want to go all in on keeping it ‘fresh’, you can use a whole pumpkin, roast it, and then use the roasted pumpkin to make the filling. That is a delicious and real way to make the filling for the ravioli. It is also time consuming, and I think this dish is already time consuming enough. If you want to go that route, there are many fine recipes on the web for roasting pumpkins and creating a filling.
I, however, take a bit of a short cut and use canned pumpkin. I am almost always in favor of using fresh vs canned. There are several exceptions. Canned tomatoes and piquillo peppers are two examples where canned are equal . I am not saying that fresh tomatoes, fresh piquillo peppers or fresh pumpkin are bad. They are quite good. But the canned alternatives are nearly just as good with far less effort.
I combine the pumpkin with some ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese, along with some cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk them all together to create a well combined filing. Set it aside, and go ahead and make the pasta. When it is time to fill the Pumpkin Ravioli, about one teaspoon of filling goes into each one. I know – it doesn’t seem like a lot, but trust me that amount is just about perfect.
Making the pasta is pretty straight forward, so the last part of the process I took on. Of course, I knew how to make pasta, but the color took a bit of ingenuity. I achieved the hue I wanted by adding some brightly colored spices. Starting with my homemade pasta recipe, I made a slight modification for color. I add ½ teaspoon of a deep red smoked paprika, and a ½ teaspoon of a bright yellow turmeric. These act as a natural food coloring. I do this for every 100 g of flour that I use. If you remember from the homemade pasta, we use 100 g of flour and 1 egg for each planned serving. The same holds true here as well, but you add the coloring by ratio as well. Half teaspoon red (paprika) and half teaspoon yellow (turmeric) for each 100g of flour and egg.
You want to add the coloring spices once you finish weighing your flour. Whisk the paprika and turmeric into the flour before adding any egg. This helps to ensure it is evenly distributed throughout the pasta. And don’t worry, they do not affect the end flavor of the pasta. Any impact to the flavor is so minor as to be barely detectable in the finished pasta. The flavor that will come through the most is the filling, in this case the pumpkin.
Follow the recipe for the homemade pasta up to the step of rolling out the pasta with the pasta roller. As you remember, I have an attachment I use on my stand mixer, but there are hand crank models as well. And as always, you can do the rolling by hand, but I think that adds significant time and difficulty to this project.
Shaping the Ravioli
Once the pasta is rolled out it is time to shape and fill the ravioli. Again, here you have options on how you do that, based largely on the tools available. Depending on the application, I shape my ravioli with one of several different methods. Today I am using a ravioli maker I received as a gift several years back. It is my favorite way to make uniformly shaped ravioli. I think the raviolis are a bit on the smaller side, but much more uniform.
Other ways to shape ravioli include using a ravioli stamp, a dumpling maker, or entirely by hand. I have tried all of these methods, and they each have their pros and cons. If I wasn’t using the frame, I would make them entirely by hand. That is easier than you would think, and the best way to go if you don’t have a specialized tool. Here is a clip from an old Good Eats episode with Alton Brown that shows how. This is the first way I learned MANY years ago to make my own ravioli. I still use it if I am making just a few for an appetizer.
Using the Frame
The instructions here are for the type of frame ravioli maker that I have. You can see by the pictures that you place a sheet of the pasta over the frame, and then make indents to hold the filling. Next you add the filling, and wet all the edges of the pasta with some water to get it to stick to the top sheet.
The top sheet is a bit tricky because you have to carefully place it to both line up with the bottom sheet. You also need to be careful to not get air trapped in any individual ravioli. Once the ravioli are filled and topped, take a small rolling pin over the top to seal them together and cut the edges. It all sounds trickier than it is. Yes, it may take a time or two to master, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy.
When I do end up with air in the ravioli, I use a trick I learned when I toook a sausage making class. I use a small pin (a common pin) to prick a hole in the surface of the ravioli. It will allow air to escape (so the ravioli doesn’t explode), won’t let much (if any) water in, and will seal itself as the pasta expands while cooking. But it as to be a very tiny hole, so only use a fine pin.
The Pumpkin Ravioli freeze nicely. To freeze, leave laid out neatly on the sheet pan, and place the sheet pan in the freezer overnight. The next day, place the now frozen ravioli in a zip bag and keep stored in the freezer. To cook, simply drop frozen ravioli in boiling water and cook them as if fresh. It may take a minute or two longer for the ravioli to cook.
Make the sauce
The sauce is a straightforward pan sauce. The one ‘trick’ is to use the heated oil in the beginning to quickly fry some sage leaves for a garnish to use at the end. This is not entirely necessary, but is a nice visual and flavor touch. And it only takes about 10 extra seconds. Literally. So give it a try.
From there, it’s saute the mushrooms., Add some onion, garlic, and sage. Push them to the side while you make a roux to turn it into a ‘sauce’. Whisk some flour into the oil (You don’t need much flour, barely a tablespoon). Finally add the pasta water, and it goes from being sautéed mushrooms to a creamy mushroom sage pan sauce.
While you are making the pan sauce, cook the raviolis as well. When they are done, pull them from the pasta water with a strainer, and add to the mushroom sauce. Toss it all together, add salt and pepper for taste and plate. Top with the fried sage leaves, and you have a delicious meal.
The next time I make Pumpkin Ravioli, I will make the ravioli several days ahead and freeze them. Then when I want to serve this meal, I can simply prepare the sauce and cook the ravioli at the same time. That will make the work seem much less daunting.
This isn’t exactly the dish we had while in Spain. But it is pretty close according to the Elegant Baker. It is definitely a delightful fall inspired meal. It is a bit of work, but you’re worth it! Break it up into parts and it is easier than you think. Pumpkin Ravioli is absolutely worth a go!
Pumpkin Ravioli with Mushroom and Sage Pan Sauce
- 100 g “00” Flour
- 100 g Semolina Flour
- 1 tsp kosher Salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 TBS parmesan cheese finely grated
- ¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 8 whole sage leaves
- 8 oz crimini or other mushrooms sliced medium
- 2 TBS onion minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tps fresh sage finely chopped
- 3 TBS olive oil divided
- 1 TBS all purpose flour
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Make the Pasta Dough
- Place both flours in a small bowl along with the paprika, turmeric and salt and whisk to combine.
- Using your hands, create a small well in the middle of the flour pile
- Add the eggs to the flour well and using a small fork, begin to stir to combine
- Slowly begin pulling some of the flour from the sides of the well into the egg
- Continue pulling more and more flour in until the mixture is a thick, sturdy consistency
- Using a bench scraper, pull the rest of the dough into the mixture and “chop” it all for several minutes to combine the rest of the flour into the dough
- Using your hands, begin to form the loose dough into a ball
- Knead the dough ball for 10 minutes. If the dough gets too dry, lightly wet the surface of one hand and use it to add moisture to the dough
- Knead for a full 10 minutes, until the dough ball is smooth and elastic
- Place the dough ball in a small bowl sprayed with cooking spray and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes
Make the Filling
- While the dough is resting, make the filling, and prepare the ingredients for the sauce
- To make the filling, In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, ricotta, parmesan, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper
- Stir to combine thoroughly
- Set aside until ready to use
Prep Sauce Ingredients
- Slice mushrooms, chop sage, and mince onion and garlic for sauce and set aside
Roll the Pasta Dough
- When the dough is finished resting at the end of 30 minutes, roll the pasta.
- To start, cut the dough ball in half. Return one half to the bowl and begin working with the other half
- Flatten the working dough with your hand and form into a rough rectangle shape
- Setting your pasta roller on its widest setting, run the dough rectangle through the pasta roller
- Take the rolled sheet and fold it in thirds (like a letter) and run through the pasta roller on its widest setting again. Repeat this step 4 more times
- Reduce the setting on the pasta roller one thickness level and run the pasta sheet through three times. No need to fold from this point forward
- Reduce the setting on the pasta roller another thickness level and run the pasta sheet through three times.
- Repeat reducing the thickness level and running sheet three times until desired thickness of pasta is achieved, I ran it to the setting “5” on my KitchenAid pasta attachment.
- Reset the pasta roller to the widest thickness and repeat the whole process with the second dough ball.
Shape the Ravioli
- If using a ravioli mold, Cut all pasta sheets to about ½” longer than the mold.
- Lightly spray the ravioli mold with cooking spray
- Lay one sheet of pasta over the top of the mold and gently move or stretch the sheet so there is a small overhang on all sided
- Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, gently press the center of each ravioli to create a small indentation to receive the filling
- Scoop 1 teaspoon of pumpkin filling into each ravioli, being careful to only get in the indentation, and not on the nearby pasta dough.
- When all raviolis are filled, take a small brush or your finger and dip in water. Run along all four sides of the mold, as well as down the middle and between each set of raviolis. You want to be sure to get all four sides of each ravioli wet
- Carefully lay an second pasta sheet over the top of the one in the mold, being sure to align all 4 corners as closely as possible.
- Using a small rolling pin, roll firmly along the top of the mold to set the doughs together and to cut the individual raviolis
- Gently remove raviolis from the frame, and neatly set aside on a parchment line sheet pan.
- Repeat the process until all of the dough sheets have been used.
- If you are going to freeze some or all of the ravioli, this is the place to do it
Cook the raviolis and make the sauce
- Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil and add salt to water before adding raviolis
- While the water is heating, begin the sauces
- Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the middle of a large skillet
- When the oil is hot, gently place the 8 sage leaves to lightly fry them. Heat them for about 10 seconds.
- Remove leaves from heat and place on a waiting paper towel. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt
- Add slice mushrooms to pan and let sit for about two minutes
- Begin stirring mushrooms and add minced onion and garlic
- Heat until onion is softened, then add chopped sage and toss to combine all.
- Turn heat off until water boils for ravioli.
- When water for ravioli boils, add ravioli and turn heat back on with mushrooms
- Push mushrooms and onions to the sides of the pan, and add a 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- When the olive oil has heated, add 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
- Stir the flour into the oil, making a roux.
- When the roux begun lightly bubbling, take about ½ cup of water from the pasta pot and slowly pour into the roux, stirring constantly
- Stir the mushrooms and onions back in and mix to combine
- When the ravioli are ready, remove from the pasta water and drain.
- Add raviolis to the skillet with the mushroom sauce and stir to combine all
- Plate the ravioli and sauce, and top with 4 of the fried sage leaves per serving for garnish