It’s pumpkin season here in Italy and this weekend we finally made it to the Fiera della Zucca di Piozzo just a short drive from our house. This regional pumpkin festival has been held for more than quarter of a century and this year more than 550 varieties were on display. The town has trademarked the ‘Zucca Piozzo’ a small round squash with a firm consistency and wonderful orange colour – as seen in the picture below. And it’s famous brewery Birra Baladin even produces a pumpkin beer called Zucca which I can confirm is delicious! This recipe transforms one of the Zucca Piozzo pumpkins into a creamy filling for my homemade ravioli. A little turmeric added to the pasta dough brings out the colours of Autumn whilst sage gives the dish a rich earthy flavour perfect at this time of the year.
400g of pumpkin, around 200g once deseeded and peeled
100g ricotta cheese
A small chunk of Parmesan, around 40g
200g plain white flour, ideally type 0 but not essential
A half teaspoon of turmeric
A handful of fresh sage
A clove of garlic
A knob of butter
A tablespoon of olive oil plus extra for roasting
Start by making the pasta dough. Mix the turmeric into the flour with a good pinch of salt and turn onto a smooth surface or board. Break two eggs into a well in the centre and then mix together gradually incorporating more of the flour. I generally start with a fork and then move to my hands to get a smooth dough. If the dough is too dry add a splash of water, if it’s too wet then sprinkle of flour should solve it.
Knead well and then wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Whilst the dough is resting you can make the filling. Cut the pumpkin into chunks then remove the seeds and peel. Place in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season well. Mix everything together and place in a hot oven for around 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and just starting to colour.
Allow the pumpkin to cool and then place in a bowl with the ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan and around half of the sage, finely chopped.
Season and mix together well with a fork, mashing the pumpkin until you have a smooth paste.
Remove your dough from the fridge and prepare your pasta making equipment. I now have a pasta machine but until recently I did everything by hand with a rolling pan. You can use either. I cut my pasta in half to make it manageable and then rolled out until it was very thin.
Once you have two thin strips of pasta you can place spoonfuls of the filling along each length. I decided to make big ravioli so I used around a dessert spoon for each one. Use a teaspoon if you prefer your ravioli a little smaller. I then cut the ravioli into squares using a special tool that also seals the edges. If you don’t have one you can just use as fork as I have done previously
Once you have finished making your ravioli, set them to one side while you prepare the sauce. Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan, add a clove of crushed garlic and the remaining sage leaves. I cut a couple of my leaves up for extra flavour. Heat through taking care that the garlic doesn’t burn: a couple of minutes should be sufficient.
Now all that’s left is to cook the pasta. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, place the ravioli in the pan one at a time and simmer gently for around 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in the sage and garlic sauce. Mix gently before serving with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Buon appetito!