Wildcilla's Culinary Daydreams

Homemade Pumpkin Spinach Ravioli
November 4, 2009, 8:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Homemade Pumpkin Spinach Ravioli is egg yolk pasta pillows filled with a creamy pumpkin and spinach filling, covered with a shallot, butter and cream sauce.  Sounds heavenly, right?  This is one that I came up with myself – mainly because of what was in my fridge.  Now, I’ve made pasta before – this is the best walkthrough for pasta ever – but I’ve never made ravioli.  But how different can it be, right?  I have to admit, I learned a few things.  Try it out and benefit from my mistakes.

You start by making pasta.  I follow Pioneer’s Woman’s instructions (which is the link above).  I originally thought I would never be able to pull off pasta – I have German and Scottish grandmothers, there’s no Italian women in the mix – but it’s easier than I thought.  Two eggs per cup of flour, one egg per person.  (I made this recipe for two, but I have to admit, I ate it all myself.)  Pour a cup of flour in a bowl, add a teaspoon of salt, and make a well in the center of your flour.  Crack in two eggs and add a tablespoon of olive oil.  Now comes the fun part.  Time to get your hands dirty.  Start mixing it together with your hand until it comes together as a ball.  Now you’ve got ten minutes of kneading.  Sit down, watch TV, listen to music, or just punch away your troubles.  You want to knead until it becomes elastic, smooth – not sticky or tacky.  Once it’s there, coat it in a bit of olive oil and cover it in plastic wrap.  Let it sit and think about things for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your filling.  You can make your filling whatever you want.  Since this was my first time, I wanted to do a vegetarian filling, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about whether the meat was fully cooked.  I mean, I can deal with lumpy pillows for a new experiment in the kitchen, but I don’t want to die or anything.  I made some creamed spinach and mixed in a few spices and some pumpkin puree for a filling fall feel.

Creamed Spinach is pretty easy.  Defrost a box of spinach (you could definitely use fresh if you have a less limited budget than mine),       and drain out all the water.  Melt half a stick of butter in a pot, and once it’s melted, add four tablespoons of flour.  Stir, stir, stir until you have a pretty caramel colored mixture in your pan – about 2 minutes.  That’s a roux!  Toss in a diced shallot and a few diced cloves of garlic, and saute them for a bit.  Add one and 1/2 cups milk, and stir, stir, stir again to get any lumps out.  Let that get to a nice gravy consistency, and then toss in your spinach.  Add a bit of salt, pepper, and secret weapon for all creamy dishes, nutmeg.  Give it a taste and see it’s got enough spices.

Now comes the fun part.  You can stop with spinach, that’s a great filling, but I added some pumpkin to get some extra iron, fiber, vitamins, all that great business.  I added about half a can of pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling, that has sugar and whatnot) to my creamed spinach and let it all warm up.  It made my filling creamier, fit great with the nutmeg, and added a new flavor to the dish.  Realize now that you’re going to have some extra filling (a lot of extra filling) but this makes a fantastic side dish for tomorrow.

Ok, filling is resting, pasta has thought about life, we’re ready to roll.  Start boiling your water and let me make a short announcement at this part: I do not have a pasta machine.  If you do, by all means, use it to roll your pasta super thin.  If you’re like me, then get out your rolling pin and do your best.  I will admit, my pasta was not rolled to the thinness that the internet requested.  It was supposed to be so thin you could see your hand through it, and I never got there.  Whatever, it was still delicious.

So you’ve rolled out that pasta into a rectangle that is so super thin, it resembles a Hollywood starlet.  Now, take a look at your rectangle.  Consider how many raviolis you think you’ll get out of this.  I got ten – but a few died before they got to the boiling water.  Slice your rectangle in half longways, and set aside one half.  (I used a pizza cutter).  Brush your rectangle with some egg white – this is what will seal your ravioli.  Dollop your filling, about one tablespoon, across the bottom of the rectangle you have in front of you.  Fold over the top, and press your fingers around your dollops.  Slice between your raviolis, and press down the edges.  Another announcement: It would be awesome to have a tool like this to crimp the edges, but I don’t have one.  So I crimped with a fork and my fingers.  Make sure that every edge is crimped so that your filling doesn’t leak out.  Now repeat with your other sheet.

Nice!  Aren’t they cute!  By now your water is boiling, so toss a few in.  Don’t crowd your raviolis, boil them in shifts so that they don’t stick together in the pot.  It takes about four minutes to cook them.

During these four to eight minutes, cook up your sauce.  Mine was easy – butter, diced shallot and diced onion, and a bit of cream stirred in to make it saucey.

Pull out your ravioli with a slotted spoon and place in a shallow bowl.  Coat with sauce, and top with Parmesan cheese.  Wow!

Let me make one final announcement: I don’t have kids or a very stressful job, I have a pretty easy going dog, and my boyfriend is out playing soccer.  I have the time on a weeknight to make a dish that makes a few hours.  You may not.  But try it out on a weekend when you have a few hours to spare, and believe me, you won’t regret it.  I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for homemade ravioli.


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