Friday, January 7, 2011

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter

For New Year's weekend, I decided to go all out and make pumpkin ravioli with sage butter using as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible.  It was a pretty time-consuming if yummy task, so I also devised a week-day version that comes together more quickly:

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter:  The Long Version

1.  Prepare pumpkin puree.  I had already done this step a few weeks ago when I decided it was finally time to do something with the pie pumpkins I had cellared from the fall farmer's market.  Five pie pumpkins at 50 cents each gave me four pints of pumpkin puree plus a bunch of seeds to toast.  I needed a pint for this recipe, so that is about 60 cents worth of pumpkin.

2.  Prepare ricotta.  Making ricotta is insanely easy, and I will cover that for you in a future post the next time I make a batch.  This is where the "as local as possible" comes in.  Rather than buying pre-made ricotta, I made my own from hormone-free milk.  The milk was not local, unfortunately, but by making my own cheese I brought one of the processing steps home and eliminated some of the transportation and manufacturing costs.  Ricotta from a half a gallon of milk came in under a dollar, and I used about half the batch, so maybe 50 cents of homemade ricotta.

3.  In a food processor, mix pumpkin puree, ricotta, salt, fresh ground pepper, one clove of garlic, and a dash of nutmeg.  The garlic came from my own garden via my cellar.

4.  Make ravioli.  Basically, these are the same noodles you saw in sage noodle soup, minus the sage.  Roll out sheets of pasta dough, cut into large squares, and put a dollop of the filling in every other square.  Moisten the edges with water and place a clean square of pasta dough on top and seal the edges.  Although my flour and semolina were from the store, I used local eggs, and again, I removed a processing and transportation step from the equation, making these more local.  Cutting and stuffing the ravioli takes some time, though!  I estimate total cost for the pasta at under $1.

5.  Drop ravioli one by one into boiling water and extract them when they float; it takes about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your ravioli.  I do these in waves and take the finished ravioli out with a slotted spoon and place them in a heat-safe bowl on the back of the stove while I cook subsequent batches.

6.  Meanwhile, make sage butter.  This is just butter (about half a cup) with a tablespoon of dried sage in it.  I used fairly expensive but completely local butter, and the sage came from my garden.  Total cost was probably $1 for this.  Dress ravioli with sage butter, toss, and serve. 

This version of the recipe was yummy, but boy did it take some time!  So, I devised a short version that takes out the ravioli step, which is the most time consuming:

The Short Version

1.  Make your pumpkin puree and your ricotta on another day.  The puree will keep indefinitely in the freezer, and the ricotta will keep a week or two in the fridge.

2.  Spray a baking dish with olive oil.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.  Cook lasagna noodles.  You will probably need about 8-10 to use up your filling mixture.

4.  On each noodle, spread a layer of filling.  Sprinkle with additional ricotta.  Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.

5.  Sprinkle each roll with sage and top with your favorite cheese.  You might use mozzarella if you want a mild flavor or sharp cheddar if you want a contrast.

6.  Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted.

The Analysis

Fast:  The long version took me a couple of hours to make, including time out for the use of some adult language when my pepper mill cap broke, sending peppercorns all over the kitchen.  Nonetheless, I think I now know why ravioli is a special-occasion dish. 

Cheap:  By relying on my own herbs and pumpkin from the farmer's market, I kept costs way down.  Making my own ricotta also saved money.  Total cost for the long version was just over $3.

Good:  The long version with homemade ingredients is far superior to any other version, but it does take some time.  The short version does a nice job of preserving the pumpkin flavor while being a bit easier to put together.
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1 comment :

  1. The first is very involved but natural. The quick version is interesting. I never thought of lasagna noodles instead of making them from scratch. Good idea!
    Like this post and the illustration.