Monday, June 27, 2011

pumpkin & mascarpone ravioli with brown butter hazelnuts

This is a dinner to make on a rainy weekend when you're not in a hurry and as was a real marathon effort, starting the day before with the homemade mascarpone. You could speed things up by using bought mascapone or even cottage cheese or ricotta and using a pasta roller rather than a rolling pin (as I will next time...) But even if you cut a few corners it's still a dinner that requires lots of prep (or "admin" as Miriam would say) before it all comes together.

The filling was inspired by this recipe, found via a google search for "fresh pasta fillings". I made a few additions so my filling was rich mixture of mascarpone, roasted pumpkin, red onion, bacon and roasted garlic. For a lighter version, cottage cheese would make a good substitute for the mascarpone (which is really just solid cream) and leave out the bacon.

I used a Jamie Oliver recipe for the pasta dough - basically a ratio of 100g of 00 flour to every size 7 egg. You need to get this underway several hours in advance too as it need to rest before rolling.

Unfortunately when I went to roll the dough with the mechanical pasta roller it had seized up and stubbornly refused to work. So most of the dough was rolled using a rolling pin - about two hours of hard work! The pasta roller was fixed during this time with much cursing of shoddy Italian workmanship - it's now all ready to roll out the last of the dough into something simple like lasagna sheets or pappardelle.

The quantities below make enough pasta for six generous servings.

600g 00 flour
6 eggs

Half a pumpkin, peeled, and chopped into 2cm dice
4-6 cloves of garlic
A sprig or two of rosemary
1 red onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
2 rashers of bacon
250g mascarpone
Salt & pepper to taste

To finish
A generous knob of butter (as much as you are prepared to use!)
A large handful of toasted hazelnuts (or walnuts)
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Baby spinach (Becs' addition)

Roast the pumpkin with the whole, unpeeled garlic, rosemary sprigs and enough olive oil at 180 degrees Celsius until tender - about 20-30 minutes. Cool and transfer pumpkin to a large bowl (discard rosemary sprigs). Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from its skin into the bowl too.

Cook the onion in a little oil over a medium heat until very soft, add a splash of water now and again to keep from browning. Throw it in the bowl.

Fry the bacon, finely chop and add to the bowl with the pumpkin etc. Once all the bits and pieces for the filling have cooled add the mascarpone and season with salt and pepper. Mix it all up, squashing the pumpkin a little so it looks like this:

Now you can roll out the dough as per Jamie's instructions and make the little raviolis. Once you have nice thin sheets of pasta, cut circles with a round cutter, put a teaspoon of filling on each circle and top with another circle and pinch the edges together firmly.

Dust each little ravioli with a little extra flour. Keep going until you have used up all the mixture. You'll probably have some extra dough left for another night. I used about 3/4 of the dough and made this much:

To cook, boil a BIG pot of salty water and drop the pasta in and cook for 7 minutes.

While the pasta is boiling heat the butter and toasted hazelnuts in a frying pan over a medium heat until the butter is golden brown.

Carefully drain the pasta (if you tip them from a height they may explode!) and place on hot serving plates. Top with a spoonful of butter and nuts. If you want more of a sauce, you could top the pasta with a small teaspoonful of mascarpone and the roasted nuts (without cooking them in butter). Add some baby spinach leaves if you have them and some shavings of parmesan cheese.

The following day, a some of the ravioli made it's way from Wellington to Christchurch for Mum and Becs to enjoy for lunch. Becs added baby spinach for a nice bitter contrast to the richness of the creamy filling and buttery nuts!


  1. Sounds amazing - and totally worth the effort!

  2. yes the christchurch contingent loved theirs - thanks to chef and courier! Becs

  3. Oh WOW. Looks and sounds truly amazing.


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