If you are looking for something delicious and elegant yet vegan for your Christmas dinner, look no further. The holidays are often about eating a lot of meat, but this vegan dish has all the flavor and all the protein you will need. If handmade ravioli are too daring for you, you could always make this simpler version using the same ingredients.
This dish is all about the pumpkin: delicate parcels of fresh pasta made with pumpkin seed flour, stuffed with roasted pumpkin, garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzled with pumpkin seed oil. The nutty flavor of the pumpkin seeds works very well with the sweetness of the caramelized pumpkin flesh. The ravioli can be made in advance, and only need to be boiled for about 2 minutes.
If you can’t find pumpkin seed flour, you could always grind pumpkin seeds yourself. The flour then won’t be partially de-oiled, but for the flavor that is certainly not a problem. Compared to the recipe for pumpkin seed pappardelle, I have increased the wheat flour content to make the dough more elastic. To make up for the flavor, I included pumpkin seed oil in the dough.
Makes about 32 ravioli, for 6-8 servings as a primo piatto or 3-4 servings as a main course
For the pumpkin seed pasta dough
150 grams (1 cup) pumpkin seed flour
75 grams (1/2 cup) Italian 00 flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil
1/4 tsp salt
about 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
For the filling and garnish
900 grams (2 lbs) peeled and cubed pumpkin or butternut squash
6 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
6 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage (optional)
pinch of ground chiles (optional)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Combine the pumpkin seed flour, 00 flour, and 1/4 tsp of salt in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Mix on lowish speed until mixed well.
Now add the pumpkin seed oil and most of the water, about 100 ml, while the mixer is running on medium speed with the paddle attachment.
Slowly add just enough more water to allow the dough to come together. If you add too much too quickly, the dough will become sticky. If that happens, add some more 00 flour.
Switch over to the dough hook and knead at medium speed…
…until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, peel the pumpkin or butternut squash…
…and dice the pumpkin flesh (about 1.5 cm or 1/2 inch dice). Toss with a bit of olive oil and arrange in a single layer in an oven proof dish.
Roast at 225C/440F until it is tender and starts to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so for even cooking.
Mash the pumpkin…
…and transfer it to a bowl. Season to taste with salt, a small pinch of ground chiles (optional), freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional).
The idea here is to enhance the pumpkin flavor, not to overpower it with other flavors. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in the same oven. They are ready when they start to pop, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Roll out the pasta dough until it is very thin, but not as thin as regular pasta dough (I used setting “8” instead of the usual “9”). Make ravioli according to my instructions. In this case I used a round cookie cutter to make round ravioli, using a cookie cutter that was a bit smaller to trim the edges.
Boil the ravioli in salted water for 1 tot 2 minutes only.
If using fresh sage, stir it for a minute in some olive oil to crisp it up slightly and flavor the oil. (Pumpkin seed oil will turn bitter if you heat it, that is why olive oil should be used for this.)
Serve the ravioli on preheated plates, drizzled with pumpkin seed oil, toasted pumpkin seeds, and sage-flavored olive oil (if using).
This is great with an aged white wine with nutty tones, such as an oaked Chardonnay. If you are able to splurge, this would be a good time to open up that 10 or more year old Meursault or other great white Burgundy.
Fresh porcini mushrooms are hard to find, in part because they are so perishable. Luckily dried porcini mushrooms can be kept for a long time and they pack a lot of flavor. The secret to making the most delicious dried porcini ravioli you have ever tasted, is to use the soaking water in the filling. It will take the mushroom flavor over the top and it has such a woodsy flavor that these ravioli are the perfect autumn dish. All you need to serve them is a bit of cream, parsley, and parmigiano.