Nothing shouts AUTUMN more than pumpkins! Autumn has to be my favorite time of the year. Fall harvest is a terrific opportunity to utilize all kinds of ingredients that we don’t generally see at any other time of the year, especially pumpkins. Pumpkins evoke memories of childhood, Jack O’ Lanterns, Halloween fun, and autumn!
For a chef, pumpkins inspire many different dishes in Autumn menu planning. One truly delicious pasta dish is pumpkin ravioli with brown butter, sage and Madeira sauce. The pumpkin filling we are going to make is elegantly enhanced with the addition of Mostarda di Mantovana. The mostarda basically consists of candied pears, apples and sometimes quince, preserved in a mustard-flavored syrup. (A further explanation of mostarda follows at the bottom of this post)
Pumpkin Ravioli with Mostarda di Mantovana
- 300 grams (10 1/2 ounces) Italian (00) flour. (If not available, use all-purpose flour, but do make the effort to find the (00) variety.)
- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place the flour in a bowl or on a dry work surface. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in the eggs along with the salt and one tablespoon of the milk. (Reserve the other two tablespoons of milk to use only if needed to bind the dough further)
- Incorporate all with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to work the dough into a ball and knead well. Add some more of the reserved milk if the dough is to tight (dry) to knead.
- As you knead the dough, it will become more pliable and soft, so roll up your sleeves and “work it!”
- Knead the dough by hand for about ten minutes. This is where the love comes into play. Once a smooth and pliable dough is formed, shape it into a ball, wrap in plastic and let rest for approximately a half hour on your work surface.
Tip: If not using immediately, place dough in the refrigerator. Remove at least 30 minutes before ready to roll out as to ensure the dough is not too cold and to prevent tearing.
- 1 kg (or 2.2 lbs) Pumpkin, skin and seeds removed from the pumpkin
- Olive oil
- 135 grams (2 cups) Amaretti cookies
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) Mostarda Mantovana
- 80 grams (3 ounces) Parmigiano Cheese
- Salt, white pepper and nutmeg, to taste
- Cut the pumpkin into about half inch sized pieces.
- Drizzle the pieces with some olive oil, arrange on a baking tray and place in a 400-450° oven.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.
- Remove and allow to cool slightly. Blend to create a smooth pumpkin puree.
- Crush the amaretti cookies to obtain a fine consistency but NOT a complete powder. This can be done by placing the amaretti between two clean dish towels and crushing them gently with a rolling pin. Measure out 1/4 cup and reserve to garnish plates.
- Add the remaining crushed Amaretti, the Mostarda and the Parmigiano to the puree of pumpkin.
- Season with the salt , pepper and nutmeg and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary according to your liking.
- Cover and reserve in the refrigerator until ready to make the ravioli
Composing the Pumpkin Ravioli
- Cut the pasta dough in half and roll out with a pasta machine to the thinnest setting.
- Conversely, if doing by hand, roll out with a well-floured rolling pin until you can almost see your hand when placed on the opposite side of the stretched dough. This takes practice but is worth every bit of effort.
- Once the dough is stretched, place a tablespoon of the pumpkin filling spaced out evenly along the dough. Use you ravioli cutter or inverted kitchen cup as a guide. Lightly brush with water around each mound of filling.
Now roll out the second half of reserved dough to the appropriate thinness and drape over the bottom dough with the filing.
- Carefully, press out any air pockets around the filling, and then seal the dough using your fingers.
Tip: It is very important to push out all air pockets while sealing the ravioli with your fingers. Air pockets will explode in the cooking process causing the filling to escape.
- Cut the dough with the ravioli cutter or inverted cup. Close ends well and place on a floured tray. Cover with cling film and reserve in the fridge.
- Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add salt.
- Carefully add the ravioli. When the ravioli begin to float to the top of the boiling water, leave to cook 1 minute longer.
- The whole cooking process should take under 4 minutes.
- Remove gently with a slotted spoon. Do NOT pour into a colander; the ravioli will most likely break.
- Serve the ravioli tossed in the Brown Butter, Sage and Madeira recipe Sauce below.
This homemade fresh pasta is fragile. The ravioli must be handled carefully or they may break, losing the delicious filling.
Brown Butter, Sage and Madeira Sauce
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 16 sage leaves, plus more to garnish
- 3 Tablespoons Madeira
- 10 Tablespoons butter
- Reduce chicken stock by ½, to 2 cups
- Add the Madeira and sage leaves
- Hold until ready to use
- When ravioli is cooked, heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and cook until just golden brown. DO NOT burn the butter.
- Deglaze the pan with Chicken Stock/Madeira mixture.
- Cook until sauce becomes nappe (coats the back of a spoon). Reduce heat.
- Carefully add the ravioli, covering with the sauce.
- Serve on warmed plates or bowls.
Tip: Garnish with reserved Amaretti, additional fresh sage and Parmigiano, to taste.
Additional Information: Some fun facts!
Mostarda is a famous Northern Italian agrodolce fruit preserve. It is very distinctive and mixes the intense spice of mustard with the sweet flavors of candied fruit.
- In this recipe we use Mostarda di Mantovana, named after the town of Montova located in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy.
- This was a favorite condiment of Catherine De Medici, who placed a jar of it in her dowry, when she left Italy to marry the future King Henry II of France in 1533.
- Mostarda of all kinds are often used during the fall season in Northern Italy to accompany boiled meats, roasts, fish and pasta dishes.
- Pumpkin Ravioli is an all-time favorite!