The inspiration for this dish came from necessity: Hegui carved a truly gigantic French pumpkin into medium sized cubes to make pumpkin coconut compote, but there was too much pumpkin. He also made a variation on Brazilian quibebe, but there was still too much pumpkin. He gave some to Jasmine T for her pumpkin pie obsession, but, still, there was too much pumpkin.
What to do?
There are lots of recipes for ravioli stuffed with pumpkin all over the Internet. Here’s one; and another; and one more. I ended up with a variation on What’s Cooking America’s shitake pumpkin raviolis.
We had just been to Nijiya Market so we were well stocked with interesting mushrooms. Their recipe uses wonton wrappers to make the shell. Instead I went back to the Cookie Crumbles and prepared their dough, which apparently comes from Marcella Hazan. I love her! I won’t re-write the dough making process in detail, but suffice it to say, I followed the instructions to the letter. Check the link to make this yourself. Since most of the fun of ravioli making lies in the production of the pasta, I’ll summarize what we did (this is a two-person job).
I made a mushroom sauce, which is not at all necessary. I just happened to have a lot of mushrooms for Chinese New Year. Really just olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper would do.
ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and shitake in sage and trumpet mushroom sauce
2 cups flour (I used all purpose)
for shitake pumpkin filling:
4 cups fresh French pumpkin or butternut squash (un-cooked)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 to 2 cups white wine
8 medium shitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped fine
2 shallots, peeled and chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced fresh sage
black pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste
for trumpet mushroom sauce:
1 cup trumpet (or other) mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp minced fresh sage
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
To make pasta:
Usually you’re supposed to pour the flour on a work-surface then mix in the egg. Counter space is at a premium in my tiny kitchen so I beat the eggs for a couple minutes in a small bowl, then mixed them with the flour in another. Then I dumped everything onto a floured surface and kneaded it for eight (8) minutes. (I set my kitchen timer.) The kneading is the key step and really it is sort of magical as about seven minutes on, suddenly the flour-egg dough starts to do something amazing! It turns into pasta! You can feel it in your hands literally changing. Sure, that is what you’re making so should not come as a surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, whenever I make pasta, I am always stunned that it actually works!
Roll dough into a ball then cut it into six equal pieces. With your pasta machine on the widest setting, roll each piece through once. Then fold the edges of each piece together towards the middle and pass it through the machine again, still at the widest setting. Repeat with each piece so that they’ve all been rolled and folded about three times. When not working with a piece, lay it on a clean kitchen towel and be sure not to let it touch any of the other dough.
After that, reduce the width of your pasta maker by one notch and pass each piece through. They will slowly start to get longer. Repeat at next lower notch and so on until you get to the penultimate. By now, your dough should be quite thin and very long. This is why it helps to have an extra set of hands. (Also it is good if your pasta machine has the clamp part that holds it to the counter! I lost ours so Hegui had to do double-duty—holding the machine down as I cranked it and holding the ends of the long pasta sheets to prevent them touching one another or falling to the floor.) Once you’ve finished set aside.
To make filling:
In a medium saucepan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, some salt and pumpkin. Cook on high for a few minutes then add white wine. Cover, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cook until pumpkin is soft (about 45 minutes). Add more white wine as needed.
Remove from heat then either run through a food processor or strainer. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, add remaining olive oil, some salt, shallot, garlic and shitake. Sweat for about ten minutes. Add black pepper, sage then fold into pumpkin. Let cool. Mix in cheeses.
To assemble ravioli:
Use about a tablespoon of filling for each ravioli. Start on one end of ribbon of pasta leaving about an inch border. Place the filling in a small mound. Continue along the strip of pasta, spacing them about 1½ inches apart. My pasta was not as wide as I had hoped so I ended up covering one strip with another. If yours turns out to be wider, then fold over. Use a little water to close the pasta making sure to push out air bubbles. I cut ours with a knife to make sort of freeform shapes. (I don’t have a pasta cutter.) Make sure that you don’t let individual ravioli touch one-another as they’ll stick.
To prepare final dish:
Boil ravioli in salted water about four minutes. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, and butter until they are cooked. Add sage, salt and black pepper to taste. Drain ravioli and add to pan with sauce. Carefully toss together. Serve.