But the last couple of years, I've really been trying to be less of a grouch about fall and winter and instead find things to truly enjoy about them. Turns out, finding things to like about fall isn't that hard at all. I like the crispness in the air on fall afternoons, the bright colors on the trees - and of course, all of the wonderful flavors of fall, like fresh apples, cider and pumpkins. Plus, in my mind, fall is a time for comfort foods, like pastas and hearty stews.
So this weekend, after the Halloween hullabaloo had settled down, I set about making a dinner to encompass some of those great things about fall... and ended up with pumpkin & sweet potato ravioli. I will admit that the addition of sweet potato to the ravioli overpowered the pumpkin a bit, but I was still really happy with the results. Even if you don't have the ambition to make your own ravioli, buy some at the store and make the brown butter sauce. It is super simple - and so tasty! It's rich, yet still lets the flavor of the sweet potato come shining through.
Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Ravioli in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce
(Feeds 4 adults generously)
For the ravioli:
3 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. baked sweet potato
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. grated Pecorino cheese
1 egg white
For the sauce:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
8 fresh sage leaves
Dump 3 c. flour in a large bowl, making a well in the middle. To the center, add 1 c. water and 2 Tbsp. oil. With a fork, begin mixing the water and oil, slowly pulling flour in from the sides as you go. Continue until all of the flour is mixed in (you may need to mix with your hands instead of your fork at a certain point - that's what I do).
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it's a uniform consistency. Cover with a wet towel and let rest 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your ravioli filling by combining pumpkin, sweet potato, nutmeg, cinnamon and Pecorino cheese in a blender or food processor and mixing until smooth.
Back to the dough. Break off 1/4 of the dough and begin rolling it out using a pasta maker. Starting at the highest setting, run the dough through, flour it and run it through again. Repeat 1-2 times until dough is smooth. Then start running it through one pass at a time (NO flour in between), lowering the setting with each pass so the dough gets thinner and thinner.
I usually only roll my ravioli dough out to the 2nd or 3rd to last setting ("2" or "3" on my machine) - otherwise it gets too thin. In the end, you should have 4 sheets of pasta, each about 5 inches wide (and really long - not sure how long - just really long!)
Lay the sheets out on a floured surface. Place heaping teaspoons of filling toward the front of each pasta sheet, spacing about 2-3 inches apart as you move lengthwise down the sheet.
Beat the egg white slightly and brush lightly around the edges of the pasta dough and in between each spoonful of filling. Fold the back side of the pasta over the top of the filling, lining the back edge up to the front edge. Press around each mound of filling, pushing any air bubbles out of the center and through the ends of the dough.
Cut the dough between each mound of filling and crimp all 4 edges of the resulting ravioli with a fork to seal.
Boil a large pot of water. Place raviolis in water in batches, cooking for 4-5 minutes at a time.
While cooking the raviolis, bring 1 stick of butter to a boil over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes until frothy, then add in sage leaves. Continue cooking the butter just until it starts to turn brown. Then remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Once the raviolis are cooked, drizzle a little bit of brown butter sauce over each serving. I also sprinkled mine with a little extra Pecorino cheese. Absolutely delightful!