Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

Homemade Roast Butternut pumpkin and ricotta ravioli with parmesan cream sauce…..dribble

September 4, 2010

Rolling pasta

I am hoping that the pasta maker will not turn out like the bread maker – 1 month of fun then several years of being tucked away in the back of the cupboard. One week in and I feel like that won’t be happening. Back in Sunny Sydney I made my first homemade pasta with my friend Kate who had been to an Italian cooking course, she arrived at my house Tipo ’00 and pasta maker in hand. We made cracking spinach and ricotta cannelloni. It was sensational and relatively easy. Since then I have had a few pasta making flutters including gnocchi – which, may I add, is VERY easy to make and you do not need any special equipment. (see my recipe for Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and walnuts). Other than that the trusty De Cecco Linguine has been my pasta of choice. Until now! My lovely sister decided to by herself (or should I say me) a pasta maker. After a few minor hiccups we managed to produce a rather wonderful roast butternut pumpkin ravioli with a burnt butter and sage sauce. As this was my first venture back into pasta land I didn’t take any photos (doh!!) So decided to do a re run for “the blog” this week. I didn’t have any sage so whipped up a creamy sauce instead which turned out to be rather delicious. By the way you can make pasta with a rolling pin and a bit of elbow grease – worth giving it a bash if you are not sure whether to invest in a pasta maker. However they are not very expensive you can get one for about £20.

Ingredients

Pasta

500 grams plain flour (ideally Tipo 00)
6 medium sized eggs or 5 large eggs

Filling

200 grams ricotta
50 grams finely grated Parmesan
Approx 800 grams Butternut Pumpkin (squash) whole weight before peeling and de-seeding
Whole nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Sauce

1 clove garlic
1 large knob of butter
Salt and pepper
Splash of dry white wine
100 mls double cream
50 grams finely grated Parmesan

Method

Flour

To make the pasta dough.

Put flour in a large mixing bowl. Crack eggs into a separate bowl or jug and lightly whisk to combine.

Whisked eggs

Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the egg mix.

Mix eggs in with a fork

Mix together with a fork until egg has been mixed in.

Bring dough together with hands

Bring together with your hands into a dough.

Remove from bowl and knead until smooth. The dough will feel relatively dry – don’t worry it will soften up a little.

Dough

Wrap in cling film and rest in fridge for min 30 mins.

Dough wrapped in cling film

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Pumpkin ready for roasting

Peel butternut pumpkin and remove seeds. Cut into 1cm cubes and add to a baking dish. Toss through a little olive oil until coated and pop into the oven.

Bake until soft and a little golden – make sure you check regularly and give the pumpkin a toss around.

Leave to cool.

Mashing pumpkin with fork

Mash with a fork until smooth (ish).

Mashed pumpkin

Add ricotta, grated Parmesan and some nutmeg (about 1/6), mix well to combine. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. If you want you can add more Parmesan.

Add ricotta Parmesan and nutmeg

Once the pasta has rested split the dough into 4 smaller balls. Keep one of the balls and re-wrap the rest and place back int he fridge.

Set the pasta maker to the widest setting.

Roll pasta

Flatten the dough into an oval shape, dust in flour to prevent it sticking and feed it through the pasta maker.

N.B. My first try came out with holes through it, this was because there were air bubbles trapped in the dough. I mashed the dough back into a ball and then rolled it out again with a rolling pin – this helped remove the bubbles and kick start the rolling process.

Turn the pasta maker down a notch and roll again, you may need to lightly dust the pasta again with some flour.

Keep doing this until the pasta is about 1mm thick.

Pasta strips with pumpkin mix

Lie the pasta onto a floured surface and cut into 4 cm strips.

Put a small amount (approx 2/3 teaspoon) at one end of the strip and lightly brush around it with water. Fold the other half of the strip over to create a parcel. Be careful not to trap air inside the ravioli as this will expand when cooked and may burst open.

Making ravioli

Keep doing this and lay them out onto a floured tray, do not pile them on top of each other as they may stick – from experience!!

Ravioli

Once you have used your first batch of rolled out pasta you can continue with the rest of the pasta until you have made as many as you wish. This amount of dough and filling should feel 8 people for main course or 14 starters.

You can freeze the pasta, pop them in the freezer on the tray. Once frozen you can bung them in a tub or a bag. You can cook them straight from frozen.

Ok to cook and serve.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a teaspoon of salt.

Warm a non stick frying pan with the knob of butter and a splash of olive oil.

Butter and garlic

Add crushed garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until soft and sweet – no colour. Add glug of white wine (approx 3 table spoons). Simmer to reduce wine to almost totally evaporated. Add the cream. Simmer until thickened a little then remove from heat and add Parmesan. Stir through and season to taste (you probably won’t need salt).

Add wine

Reduce wine

Pop the pasta into the pot, I probably wouldn’t do not than 4 serves in the one pot.

Ravioli in boiling water

Cook for about 4 minutes then remove one and see if it is cooked. You may need to cook the ravioli for a little longer it really depends on how thick the pasta is – everyone’s pasta is slightly different. Once cooked drain in a colander and toss through sauce, serve immediately in warmed bowls.

Ravioli in cream parmesan sauce

Ravioli

The creamy sauce is great but so is the burnt butter and sage. This is made by taking about 75 grams of butter and heating it on the stove until it is bubbling (this is for 4 people). Do not heat at too high a temp as it may actually burn, you are looking for a nut brown colour. Add sage leaves (about 8 small to medium leaves per person or 4 large). The sage leaves should be crisp once cooked. Pour over the top of the ravioli when it is plated up and top with some finely grated Parmesan.

I am planning on trialing some other filling so will keep you posted!

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Kefalonian spinach and feta pie (with roast pumpkin thrown in)

May 24, 2010

Spinach Pumpkin and feta pie

How can you go wrong with puff pastry? It’s just great, obviously not the best diet food but everything in moderation.

I am a huge fan of Greek food – good Greek food that is. Stuffed veggies, slow roast lemon potatoes, Tzatziki, Greek salad and my absolute favorite Spanakopita.

While I was at Art College I managed to wangle a job in a bar on the Greek island of Kefalonia for the summers. I had an absolute ball, at the time I was in my late teens early twenties and I really can’t think of anything I would have enjoyed more!

After work my friends and I would head off to get something to eat. It was usually about 5am and the place was always buzzing, our options were to head down to the square for Souvlaki, the beach for a toasted sandwich or to the bakery for fresh out of the oven Spanakopita.

My first choice every time was the bakery. Gorgeous flakey puff pastry filled with spinach and feta. Yummy!

So I decided to make my own version tonight but with a little difference I added some roast butternut pumpkin because I had some in the fridge, and pumpkin, spinach and feta goes really well together.

Ingredients

1 block of puff pasty or sheets
200 grams of English spinach
1 red onion
1 large lemon
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon of fresh mint finely chopped
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan (Padano or Reggiano)
150 grams of feta crumbled
1 1/2 cups of 1 cm diced butternut pumpkin
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 egg
Sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Finely diced onion

Finely dice onion and add to large bowl.

Finely sliced spinach

Wash dry and finely slice spinach and add to the onions.

Onion spinach and lemon with pinch of salt

Add a pinch of salt to the bowl and the juice of one lemon give a good mix through.

Diced pumpkin

Pop pumpkin pieces into a roasting dish and add a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Add a glug of olive oil and toss so that the pumpkin in coated.

Put pumpkin into the oven for approx 20 – 30 mins until the pumpkin is cooked and slightly golden in colour. Make sure you regularly stir the pumpkin to ensure that it does not stick and roasts evenly.

Squeezing out the liquid from the spinach

After the spinach has been sitting for about 20 – 30 mins it should have released a lot of liquid. Empty the spinach mixture into a colander or sieve and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can.

Spinach feta parmesan thyme mint

Pop the spinach into a clean dry bowl and add the thyme leaves, finely chopped mint, crumbled feta and grated Parmesan. Season with pepper and a little salt (if you need it). Stir through thoroughly.

Spinach mixture

Once the pumpkin is cooked add to the spinach and cheese mix.

Add pumpkin to the spinach mix

Increase the oven temperature to 220 degrees.

Rolled out puff pastry cut into 15 cm squares

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface and cut into 15 cm squares.

Spinach mixture onto pastry

Add a large spoonful of the spinach mixture to the center of the pastry squares.

Press edges together with fork

Brush the edges of the pastry with lightly beaten egg and fold over to make triangles. Press the edges together and either mark with a fork or fold over on its self to create a sealed edge.

Pies on a baking sheet ready to go in oven

Brush the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place on a floured baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown – make sure you check the underside of the pies – this should also be golden brown. If not put back into the oven and back for a few more minutes until the underside is golden brown.

Pies cooked

Serve with a leafy salad.

Spinach feta and pumpkin pie with salad

You could make smaller versions of these for finger food or picnics.

Delish! And also good cold.

Heart warming Roast Butternut pumpkin and leek soup…..yum!

May 13, 2010

Bowl of roasted pumpkin and leek soup

I have to say pumpkin soup – and I mean good pumpkin soup – is the “feel good” soup equivalent of risotto. No matter what kind of terrible day you have had it will make you feel better.

Pumpkin soup is a stock standard in Australia and can be found pretty much in every decent cafe during the winter months. It is a very popular choice for lunch on a cold day.

As it is apparently spring here this recipe should really be forgotten about until November. However it is still rather on the chilly side, I am being polite about it (its May what the heck is going on!!!!)

So pumpkin soup is well and truly still on the agenda.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butternut pumpkin (squash) approx 1 kg peeled and diced
1 large leek
1 brown onion
2 medium-sized potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Vegetable or Chicken stock (2 stock cubes or equivalent in “real” stock if you are being virtuous)
Double cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Peel, seed and dice the pumpkin into 1 cm cubes (approx). Pop into a low flat oven proof dish (ideally ceramic but a baking tray will do). Drizzle with olive oil (approx 2 table spoons), sprinkle with a pinch of salt and grind over black pepper. Toss with your hands so that the pumpkin is evenly coated with the oil.

Pumpkin roasting in oven

Pop in oven for approx 25 – 30 mins (or until pumpkin is soft and a little golden) – keep checking it to make sure it is not burning and toss every 10 mins so that the pumpkin roasts evenly.

Leek and onion sauteed

While the pumpkin is in the oven finely slice the onion. Thoroughly wash the leek to get rid of any dirt/grit and finely slice. Pop onion and leek in a large soup pot (with a heavy base would be good but not absolutely essential). Add a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Saute over a low to medium heat until soft and sweet (the sharp smell from the onions should have disappeared and your eyes should not be watering anymore).

(By the way I know you are probably thinking “why is she using a frying pan?”, yes I know I haven’t mentioned a frying pan but I didn’t have a large pot – was staying in a holiday house in the middle of nowhere and you have to make do with what you have.)

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1 cm cubes and add to the pot.

Diced potatoes added to sauteed leek and onion

Add roasted pumpkin and stock cubes and add approx 1 1/2 litres of boiling water (or 1 1/2 litres of stock). Should be enough to cover all the veg and a little bit more (you can always add more water if you need).

Roast pumpkin, stock and boiling water being added to the pot

Simmer until all veg is soft – approx 20 – 30 mins.

Pumpkin and leek soup simmering

Use a hand blender (bar mix) and puree the soup or you can do this in a food processor or blender. Be careful if you are using a blender – remove the small vent so that pressure does not build up and when blending cover with a folded tea towel.

** I forgot to do this once and had boiling hot soup flying around the kitchen….amazingly I managed to escape without third degree burns!

Once blended check for seasoning, add salt and pepper if required and more boiling water if it is too thick. If it is too watery put back on the heat and reduce until it is the desired thickness.

Blended roast pumpkin and leek soup

You can at this point add a splash of double cream but it is not essential (I don’t usually do this but the last time I made it I had some cream in the fridge anyway).

I served this soup with grilled cheese on toast with a little scraping of hot English mustard (a little bit of a random choice but it worked!!)

Tip: This soup freezes really well, if you are going to freeze a few portions I would recommend that you leave the cream out though.