Waking up in the morning knowing that I have nothing to do but spend the day in my kitchen creating delicious things for the people I love is my favorite feeling in the world. (I’m sure that you can imagine how excited I am that we are in quickly descending upon Thanksgiving…) My second favorite feeling is taking a seemingly complex recipe and finding a way to make it accessible to those lacking time and/or culinary luster - without sacrificing taste.
I was reminded of this recently when I came across a picture on Pinterest titled “Pumpkin Ravioli in Sage Sauce.” Seemingly perfect for the season, I quickly clicked on the link for the recipe. Typical of the site, the link led to an error page, leaving me disappointed and starving. Undeterred, I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to find a way to both recreate the alluring photograph and simplify the ravioli-making process.
I zeroed in on the three parts of pumpkin ravioli recipes that are time-consuming and messy: making dough (ALL the flour ALL over your kitchen), roasting and pureeing pumpkin, and after that - having the energy to make a sauce worthy of the hard-earned ravioli. Luckily, sage sauce is inherently simple. I did a little research to up the ante, then decided to brown the butter and add a little fresh lemon juice to the classic recipe.
Abridging the ravioli dough and filling required a little more creativity. The idea of figuring out how to properly cut, season, roast, pit, and puree a pumpkin makes me want to give up and buy packaged ravioli. Because most pumpkin filling recipes call for several ingredients and steps beyond procuring the puree, I made the call to substitute canned puree. To take the flavor complexity a step farther, I added goat cheese to the traditional nutmeg, shallots, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and bread crumbs.
This still left the flour/kitchen dilemma. Recalling how well wonton wrappers worked for baked crab rangoons, I weighed the pros and cons of using them as ravioli. The major issue is that the wrappers are much thinner than pasta dough, which means less filling and less boiling time. If you overstuff the ravioli, the wrappers will burst – leaving your boiling water clouded with pumpkin filling, and same result if you over-boil.
Slightly worried that despite my best efforts, the ravioli wouldn’t turn out, I invited friends over to taste-test and started making the dish. It turned out that there was no need to fret, the result was absolute perfection! My guests marveled at how simple it was to make something so scrumptious. Creating the ravioli took 15 minutes, and the sauce was finished in less than five minutes. I’ll be serving this easy autumnal crowd-pleaser through New Year’s!
t+tCOCKTAIL: Complete your autumnal feast by pairing your pumpkin ravioli with a Pumpkin Martini. Simply mix 1.5 oz pumpkin flavored liquor, 1.5 oz spiced rum, and 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream in a cocktail shaker over ice, then wet the rim of a martini glass and coat with cinnamon sugar before pouring in the cocktail.