So apparently there’s a pumpkin shortage going on;  heavy rains have killed crops (and the livelihoods of many many farmers).   I wanted to get a couple of  “just in case” cans of pumpkin puree to put in the pantry, but wasn’t really expecting there to be any after the story broke last week, imagining hordes of locals rushing out to buy up all the cans available before we got there.

Well, it was obvious there had been a run on the stuff: where last week, there’d been an amply-stocked shelf of several brands of puree, and a large pyramid display fully stocked, this week there was one sad box, with a couple dozen cans, sitting on the floor.  I bought two cans, and would happily use some of it to make this next recipe again.

I’ve been getting a little bored with sweet pumpkin preparations, delicious as they are (I’ve already switched over to apple-based desserts, and will post some of those recipes when I refine them a little).  However, as with most winter vegetables, pumpkin can be really off-putting to me when done savory.  I then remembered that one of my aunts had once made butternut squash ravioli, and despite really disliking butternut squash, I enjoyed the ravioli.  Hmm, perhaps something similar could be achieved with pumpkin?

What follows is a very simple recipe from GroupRecipes for a tomato-infused ravioli with a pumpkin/ricotta filling.  While even a newbie like me could follow the recipe easily, I’m not going to lie: rolling out pasta dough by hand is a lot of work.  I couldn’t get it as thin as I really wanted it, and mangled a few edges here and there, so ended up with 22 ravioli instead of 32.  However, all of them stayed sealed and together when boiling, and they were good enough to feel really worth the effort.

That said, I really really want a pasta machine for the next time I make this.  Oh — and this is in no way a diet food.  You might call this “rich.”  I call it “wow, I felt really fat the next day.  But it was so worth it.”

For sauce, the recipe at GroupRecipes recommends a pesto, but I heartily recommend sauteeing some sage and walnuts in a few tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Sage tastes amazing with this, and the walnuts provide a contrasting texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • another 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp water

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, mix cheese, pumpkin, 1/2 tsp salt, and nutmeg until well-blended; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the other 1/2 tsp salt, and make a well in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, tomato paste, and oil until well-blended, then pour into the well into the center of the flour.
  • Using a fork, move the flour from the sides of the bowl into the center, mixing until the dough gradually forms a ball.
  • Knead dough lightly on a floured, cloth-covered surface for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  • Cover and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.  Cover whatever dough you’re not working with.  Take one of the quarters and roll it into a 12″x10″ rectangle.
  • Drop filling on one half of the rectangle, in 4 rows of two mounds each, 1-1/2″ apart.
  • Use a pastry brush and water to moisten all of the edges of the dough and the spaces between the mounds of filling.
  • Fold the rest of the dough over and press down all the edges and between the mounds of filling. Cut out ravioli with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, and seal edges with a fork.  Make sure to seal all edges well.
  • Place ravioli on a towel; let stand, turning once, 30 minutes or until dry.

To cook, bring well-salted water to a boil, add ravioli, reduce heat to medium, and cook until they pop up to the top, about 5-6 minutes.  Drain, return to the pot, add butter-sage sauce and toss to mix.

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I had really bad allergies today and wasn’t in much of a mood to cook, so I decided on something simple that would make use of several of the vegetables I have on hand, along with an easy-to-cook dried penne pasta.  We’ve been eating whole-wheat pasta lately, but we only had regular on hand today, so I used that.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. tiny penne pasta with lines
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a white onion, diced
  • 2 scallions (white and light green parts)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 stalks of broccolini, sliced (include florets and stalks)
  • 1/2 C red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups of curly kale, washed and shredded
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • splash of good Balsamic vinaigrette
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Fill a large saucepan with water for the pasta.  Bring to a boil, and add the pasta.
  • Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  When hot, add the onion and cook until nearly translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook 3 or 4 minutes, until soft.
  • Add the diced tomato and a pinch of salt and saute about five minutes.  During this time, the pasta should be  ready to drain, so do that and set aside.
  • Add the broccolini, red pepper, and herbs to the sauteeing mixture and cook a minute or two, until the broccoli turns a lovely bright green.
  • Add the kale in several bunches, waiting for a bunch to wilt and cook down a bit before adding the next bunch.
  • Add the splash of balsamic vinaigrette and stir well, incorporating all of the flavors, and cook for about another minute.
  • Add to the waiting pasta, stir well, and season additionally as needed.  If you have any on hand, some grated Parmesan would go lovely with this.
  • Enjoy!