Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin & Walnut Ravioli with a Creamy Sage Dressing

This is a wonderful recipe for Thanksgiving. It uses some of the traditional ingredients you want to see on the menu like pumpkin, walnuts and sage and it's so wonderfully colorful that it enhances any Thanksgiving table. What I love is that it can be made in advance. It's true that the ravioli are a bit labor intensive, but they're fundamentally simple to make. They can literally be made days, even weeks, in advance and frozen. Set your sauce up in a pan Thanksgiving morning and then just around serving time plop the frozen ravioli into a big pot of boiling salted water for a few minutes, toss them in the sauce and serve!

For the pasta:
600 grams (1 1/3 pounds) durum, hard grain wheat flour
6 eggs
500 grams (1 pound) fresh spinach, steamed and squeezed dry

For the filling:
400 grams (14 ounces) pumpkin, baked
100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) ricotta cheese
1 egg
100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) walnuts, finely chopped

For the sauce:
20 sage leaves, finely chopped
150 grams (5 ounces) melted butter
100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
1 Cup (240 ml) cream
1 teaspoon salt
150 grams (5 ounces) walnuts, finely chopped

To prepare the filling:
Put the baked pumpkin through a ricer:

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Add the other filling ingredients:

To prepare the pasta:
Make the pasta according to directions for the Basic Pasta recipe (see recipes). Knead 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach into the dough for green ravioli:

Divide the pasta into four pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the remaining pieces covered so they do not dry out. Roll the pasta out into one long, paper thin strip. The strip should be about 8 inches wide (20 centimeters). Cut the strip in half lengthwise. If you use a pasta roller (I recommend it) roll the pasta out to the thinnest setting.
Put a teaspoon of filling along one of the pasta strips, about two inches (5 centimeters) apart:

Using a pastry brush, moisten the pasta strip around the filling and lay a second pasta strip on top:

Cut the individual ravioli into squares using a pasta cutter or a knife. Place the ravioli on a lightly floured dish towel to rest while you prepare the others. At this point the ravioli can be frozen for future use. If you freeze the ravioli do not thaw them prior to cooking.

To prepare the sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage, then add the cream and salt. Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water until al dente, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Gently remove the ravioli using a slotted spoon and transfer to the saucepan. The ravioli are very delicate and can easily break if not removed from the water in this way. Toss the ravioli gently in the sauce, transfer to a serving platter & sprinkle with parmesan cheese and walnuts. Garnish with a sprinkling of parsley and serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome to the Flavor of Italy blog!

The Flavor of Italy blog will be all about food and everything pertaining to food. You'll find recipes, cooking tips, discussions on what's in season, information on restaurants & books, upcoming and past food & wine events. And anything else you express an interest in hearing about. This is not a writers blog, so be patient. If you love everything to do with food, and especially Italian food, then I think you'll enjoy this blog. When I'm not preparing food or dining, I love looking at pictures of food so I also plan to make this blog as pictoral as possible. Thanksgiving is around the corner so we'll start off with a great holiday recipe!....