Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pumpkin Raviolis with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

The season of food is upon us!! Once the leaves start to change and the nights are cool, I know it is time to cook again! Fall and winter cooking are so very different than summer and even spring cooking. Now that it is dark and chilly when it's time to sit down for dinner, I want something comforting on my plate. No more of the salads of summer... bring on casseroles, stews, soups and pasta.

October through March are my favorite months in which to cook, and I have a entire arsinal of tried and true recipes to pull from, as well as many new ones to experiement with. September, October and November are the months where I can't get enough winter squash into my diet. I love cooking with all varieties, but especially love pumpkin. Not many people think to cook anything besides pies with this squash, but I love many ways. One of my favorite pumpkin recipes is this homemade ravioli recipe that my sister and I created last fall. We experimented by adding a bit of this and that until we were happy with our filling. The night we were serving them, we were feeding 9 people so we also came up with a short cut for our ravioli pasta.....wonton wrappers!!!!! No kidding, and they make the best raviolis! They are so light that the pumpkin filling really shins in this dish.

So, since we aren't making our own pasta for this recipe, why not make our pumpkin puree?? It is so easy to roast your own sugar pumpkins to create your own puree rather than buying it in a can. All I do is split the pumpkin in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and rub it all over with a bit of olive oil. I then put it open side down on a cookie sheet and roast it at about 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes (I find that if you leave your pumpkin face down the entire cooking time, you will loose a lot of the moisture making your puree less watery.) Once the pumpkins are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and either mash it with a fork or potato masher, or if you like yours baby food smooth, you can throw it in the food processor. I prefer to do mine by hand to leave some texture and also less dishes to wash! Voila! Homemade puree that tastes a million times more like pumpkin than the stuff in the cans, which is what you want in this recipe since you will really taste the filling.

This recipe makes a lot of raviolis, but the great thing is that you can make them all, then freeze them in ziplock baggies. Now you have an easy weeknight meal that can be ready in less than 10 minutes.

Homemade Pumpkin Raviolis with Sage/Brown Butter Sauce

Serve 6-8 raviolis per person

2 cups pumpkin puree (from probably 1 large or two small sugar pumpkins)- or you can use 2 cans of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin PIE puree)
1 1/4 cups whole milk ricotta (I use whole milk in all my cooking, and I think it works best here since it lack the water content of part-skim ricotta)
2 tsp salt (if you think this is too much for you, wait to add the salt last after tasting)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg (if you have fresh nutmeg and a grater, even better!)
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2-1 tsp dried sage
2 eggs- lightly beaten

1-2 packages of wonton wrappers

Sage brown butter sauce (recipe to follow)
Salted, roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas
Freshly grated parmesan

Combine all ingredients (pumpkin through eggs) in a large bowl.

Brush wonton's with water and place about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each one. Fold into a triangle and pinch edges closed with your fingers. I then usually follow that with using the tongs of a fork to seal the raviolis even more ( to ensure they don't come apart in the cooking process, though there will always be at least one that doesn't come out intact!)

Place raviolis on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in freezer for 30+ minutes (at this point, you can put in baggies and freeze). While raviolis are chilling, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove and top with sage brown butter sauce, a grating of parmesan and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately (these tend to cool down really quickly.)

Sage Brown Butter Sauce

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
20-30 fresh sage leaves

In a heavy bottomed saute pan, cook butter over medium- high heat. Once melted, add sage and continue to cook until butter is brown and sage leaves are crisp.

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