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Pumpkin Ravioli from Mantua

By: 
Tina Wasserman
pumpkin ravioli

During the Renaissance the Jews lived very well in Mantua under the Gonzaga duchy. They were very familiar with pumpkin because of New World exploration and the Portuguese and Converso connections throughout the world. Although this dish is very popular in restaurants throughout the world right now, the recipe is 500 years old. This recipe was adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook, Cucina Ebraica.

Ingredients: 
FILLING:
2 pounds fresh pie pumpkin or butternut squash, or 1 pound canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces), crushed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped raisins (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes if too dry and hard)
Sugar to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons dried plain bread crumbs
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water for sealing dough
1 stick butter melted, until light brown
1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh mint or fresh thyme
...................................................................................................
DOUGH:
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ice water
2 cups bread flour
Directions: 

Filling

  1. To prepare the pumpkin or squash, roast in a 400°F oven for 50 minutes or until soft. Cool, cut in half, and remove all seeds and stringy fibers. Scoop the meat of the squash into a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth.
  2. If puree is watery, spread the puree on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 300°F for 10 minutes or until it appears dry. Let cool before using, or use 1 pound of canned pumpkin.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin with the next 7 ingredients and set aside while you make the dough.

Dough

  1. Place the eggs, oil, and water in the food processor work bowl, and mix by turning the processor on and off twice.
  2. Add 1 cup of the bread flour, and turn the processor on for 5 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the other cup of flour and process for 10 seconds longer. The dough will be crumbly. Pinch a little bit of dough; if it holds together, it is ready to be rolled.
  3. Remove the dough and divide in half. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes or longer if you are rolling the dough by hand.
  4. Make pasta according to machine directions. If rolling pasta by hand, divide dough into fourths and then roll out each portion as thin as possible. Cut dough into 3-inch rounds, or use a ravioli form.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle or each template on the ravioli form. Brush a little of the egg yolk mixture on the edges of the dough, and cover with another circle of dough (or sheet if using the ravioli plate). Press dough firmly from the filling outward to remove any air trapped in the middle and seal the dough.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.
  7. Drizzle brown butter on top of ravioli, and sprinkle with the fresh mint or thyme chiffonade.

 

Tina's Tidbits: 

  • Although fresh pie pumpkin has a more distinct flavor, canned pumpkin will work if you are short on time.
  • Never use salt in the pasta dough. It will make the dough tough and hard to roll.
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