Thursday, March 20, 2008

Winter's End Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola, Sage, and Hazelnuts

On the last day of winter, it seemed like a good time to finish off the pumpkin ravioli that I had made weeks ago and left in the freezer. Back when winter started, I roasted a big, blue pumpkin that had the brightest orange flesh, puréed it, and put it to a couple of different uses. One of those uses was pumpkin-cinnamon rolls which are a big favorite of Kurt’s and mine. Obviously, the pumpkin was also used for ravioli, and some of it remains in a tub in the freezer. The filling for the pumpkin ravioli included puréed pumpkin, a scant amount of toasted bread crumbs, an egg, shredded parmigiana reggiano, and a few scrapes of nutmeg on the microplane. I made a standard pasta dough with flour and eggs, and mixed it in a food processor rather than by hand. (My pasta-making education came from Marcella Hazan via her excellent book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, but I took the liberty of using the food processor to speed things up a bit.) I rolled out the pasta into sheets with a hand-cranked Imperia machine, and plopped the filling by the teaspoonful along the length of the sheets. Then, folded the sheets in half lengthwise over the filling and cut the ravioli with a fluted pastry wheel. The fresh pasta was boiled briefly and topped with browned butter, fried sage leaves, and a few curls of shaved parmigiana reggiano and was delectable. Kurt and I agreed that is our preferred way to prepare pumpkin ravioli, but it is very rich. It makes a great first course or primo. The remaining ravioli went into the freezer, and we enjoyed the browned butter and sage topping again a few weeks later. Last night, to use the rest of the ravioli before Spring arrived and made pumpkin seem out of place for dinner, I tried serving them with a gorgonzola sauce. I made a béchamel with finely chopped sage and melted gorgonzola and parmigiana reggiano into it. The ravioli were topped with the sauce and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and a little more parmigiana. This version of the ravioli was also delicious, and freezing the ravioli works fine, but nothing can beat the taste and texture of fresh pasta on the day it's made.


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