After the roller-coaster ride of hellish and near frost temperatures in southeastern Michigan, I am happy to report that the fall weather looks as though it has finally taken hold.
In anticipation of Halloween, and because I heard that there was going to be a Pumpkin Shortage due to the vast amounts of rain and heat in these parts, I ran out to find a pumpkin for our porch. While I wouldn’t usually hem and haw over the price of a pumpkin , the sucker I found was $10, which I must admit, gave me pause. I caved, simply because 1) it was really quite pretty and really quite big, and 2) We don’t do much else in the way of fall decorations, so why not? check out this cool picture, courtesy of Gare and Kitty on Flickr:
And speaking of all things pumpkin, I plan on making the following recipe:
Courtesy Wolfgang Puck, The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook, Random House, 1986
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
1 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, plus 6 small leaves for garnish
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 recipe Regular Pasta Dough, recipe follows
1 egg, beaten lightly, for egg wash
2 cups chicken stock
2 shallots, chopped
Heat a saute pan over low heat and add 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the cubed pumpkin and cook, stirring often to stop it from sticking and burning, until it softens and falls into a puree.
Turn the pumpkin into a saucepan, add 1/2 of the cream and half the herbs and cook over a low heat for approximately 1 hour, or until the puree is thick and the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and beat in an additional 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the beaten eggs, season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set a side to cool.
On a floured surface, roll out the pasta as thin as possible. Cut into 2 sheets and brush 1 of them with egg wash. Using a teaspoon, place 24 equal mounds of the pumpkin puree on the egg-washed dough, about 2 inches apart. Cover the mounded dough with the second sheet of pasta and press around the mounds of pumpkin to seal the dough. Using a ravioli cutter or a sharp knife cut the ravioli. Dust a tray with semolina and place the ravioli on it.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, while you make the sauce.
Prepare the sauce: In a saucepan, reduce the stock with the shallots to 1/2 cup. Add the remaining cream and reduce by half. Over a low heat, whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, a little at a time, over low heat. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan and add the remaining sage and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the ravioli to the rapidly boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Add the ravioli to the sauce and bring just to a boil. Correct the seasonings.
Divide the ravioli among preheated soup dishes and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish each serving with a fresh sage leaf. Serve immediately.
A simple but delicious alternative sauce can be made from fresh unsalted butter, minced fresh sage, and a little freshly grated Parmesan.
Regular Pasta Dough: Yield: 1 1/2 pounds
1 1/2 cups semolina flour – finest grind
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place the flours in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the salt, eggs, and olive oil. Process until the dough begins to mass on the blade (about 1-2 minutes).
Remove the dough from the processor and press it into a ball. Wrap in plastic and let rest at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before rolling and cutting. (Rolling the dough by hand is extremely tedious; with a small pasta machine and cutting attachment, you will save time and produce a much more uniform product.)
Notes: The pasta can be made by hand or in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. For each of these methods, mix the dry ingredients together first, make a well in the center, add the wet ingredients and mix them together slowly until everything is combined well. Wrap in a plastic.
If you try it too, let me know how it turns out!