16 January 2013

Pumpkin ravioli - made from scratch

A few years ago we were vegetarians. That lasted about eight years but ended when Hanno wanted to eat meat again and it became so difficult to get genuine vegetarian meals when I was travelling for work. In the bush here vegetarian = a boiled egg salad if you were lucky and hot chips if you weren't. When I started eating meat again, I felt better for it, although I regret the lives lost to feed me and if I do waste food, I feel real shame when I waste meat. We still eat vegetarian meals, still enjoy them but I feel our health is better when we combine a small number of meat meals with vegetarian ones or reduce the meat portion of the meal.

I know it's difficult if you're cooking for people who feel they must have meat and nothing else will do but I would suggest you try one vegetarian meal each week and see how that goes. If you can't successfully introduce one vegetarian meal a week, you may get away with something like this meal, which is substantial and filling, to which you add a hint of meat (bacon or chorizo) to the sauce or the filling.

This is what we had for dinner last night - roast pumpkin ravioli - completely home made, of course, and made without a pasta maker.

FILLING - enough for two
¼ small japanese pumpkin or ½ small butternut - chop into small pieces and roast in a hot oven till brown
1 garlic clove - roast this, in the skin, with the pumpkin
chilli (optional)
salt and pepper
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs - made from stale bread
½ cup grated cheese - I used Mersey Valley, a very sharp cheese, you could also use parmesan - it needs to have a lot of flavour
thyme, parsley or chives, chopped (optional)

When the pumkin is cooked and cool, put it in a bowl and mash it. Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and add it to the pumpkin. Add all the other ingredients and let it sit.

PASTA - I only used half and froze the rest
2 cups pasta flour or 000 flour - you can buy this at the supermarket. If you can't find it, use plain flour.
4 eggs
½  teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
a small amount of water to add teaspoon by teaspoon if the pasta is too dry

I made mine in the bread maker. Just put all the ingredients in and knead for 10 minutes. Take the dough out, flatten it a little, cover in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to relax for 30 minutes. I used half the dough for this and have half in the freezer. I'll make a thick strips pasta with homemade spicy tomato sauce later in the week.

Use plain flour is you don't have 000 flour.
Kneading the pasta in the bread maker is the easiest way to do it. If you make it by hand, make a well in the centre of the flour, add everything to the well and slowly start incorporating the flour into the wet centre. When it's all mixed in, knead for 8 - 10 minutes.
When you roll the dough out, don't use too much flour on the bench - it will make the pasta tough.
The ravioli is cooked when it rises again in the boiling water.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. When they are added to the pot, they'll sink. When they rise to the top again, they'll be cooked. That will take about 5 minutes, depending on how many you have in the pot.

Generally I have a tomato-based sauce with pasta but not with pumpkin. I don't think they go together well. You could make a coconut cream and chilli sauce. Just open a tin of coconut cream, put it in a pot, add salt, pepper and chilli sauce or flakes and stir. You could also do a cream herb sauce, using the same herbs you used in the ravioli in the sauce.
If you have filling left over, like I did, you can make this: place the extra filling in a saucepan, add half cup of cream, half cup of water and stir. You'll have to use your common sense for this. If it's too thick, add more water, if you don't have much filling, add more cream and less water. You could also use milk, not cream and water. 

To make up the ravioli, divide the pasta up into smaller portions because it's easier to handle that way. I divided mine in two and froze half, then divided the remainder in two. Roll the pasta out with your rolling pin until it's as thin as shop bought pasta. Try to roll it into a circle or a rectangle shape - it's easier to cut. Grab a scone cutter or a large glass and cut the round shapes for the ravioli. 

To fill the ravioli: in the middle of each shape, place a small teaspoon full of the filling. Pick up the shape, fold the pasta over the filling and crimp the edges, pressing them together firmly so no filling escapes while they're cooking.

If you want to make this ahead of time, lay the filled ravioli on a baking sheet in the fridge. Make sure the pasta isn't touching because it will stick. Make the sauce up and keep it in the fridge. When you make it up, all you'll have to do is to cook the ravioli in boiling water and warm the sauce.

Now that we've eaten this, I'd change two things. I'd add herbs to the sauce, or a sprinkling of herbs over the dish at the end, because it looked too bland. I would also make a side salad to have with it. It was delicious though. Hanno said: This is good! And after another mouthful: This is VERY good!



  1. Will definitely try your recipe Rhonda. Always looking for easy recipes.

    1. Easy? I guess I'm lazy, because this looks challenging to me, but absolutely delicious. I may have to try it. Jen

  2. That looks and sounds great!

    Thanks for the encouragement to try something new!


  3. Looks delicious! I confess I've never made fresh pasta at home, this might just be the inspiration I need ;)

  4. Looks great and reminds me that I used to make a similar ravioli with a burnt butter sauce which had sage and a few other fresh herbs crisped up!

  5. With a large family, I have always tended to steer away from things that needed several stages to make and cook..... but after seeing your recipe and remembering that there are only a few of our children at home now, I have a feeling that we will be having this tonight!!
    If anyone needs some inspiration to cook more veggie meals, have a look at Hugh's (River Cottage) vegetable episode on ABC's Iview at the moment - lots of good things!

    1. Evi, the thing I like about this recipe is that it can be made in stages or with leftovers. If you've got some frozen dough in the freezer and roast vegie leftovers, all you have to do is assemble it and make the sauce.

  6. And that diet I believe is the most certain. We, homo sapiens, evolve to omnivire, that why we don't have the same alimentary canal as the horse or the cow. But, yes we in our present society eat a lot of meat. One of my goals for this year is to reduce a lot on the meat I eat. I feel better in the min and litter in the body. :)

    I shall try this one :) I love raviolli!

  7. other than homemade egg noodles, I've never made fresh pasta.
    It looks wonderful Rhonda! Thanks so much for sharing. :)
    - Kristin

  8. Yum! I'm always looking for veggie recipes and I love pumpkin. I'd never thought to use the breadmaker to knead it, I usually put mine in my mixer with a dough hook.

  9. Your ravioli looks delicious Rhonda! I make a similar one with homegrown/made spinach and ricotta, which my family enjoys on a monthly basis.

    Gav x

  10. Hanno said: This is good! And after another mouthful: This is VERY good! That is the best compliment anyone could give. It sounds good, very good.

    cheers kate

  11. You can also freeze the ravioli - that way you have it next week all ready to go without faffing and you can also boil them from frozen. Just lay them on a tray lined with baking paper (they'll stick to bare metal if you freeze them on the bare tray) and pop in the freezer. When frozen solid put them into an ice cream tub and label - if you put them in a bag they will get knocked about and they are delicate) Also, after boiling, if you find your ravioli a bit boring texture-wise you can boil, drain and then sprinkle them with cheese after popping them in a greased dish in the oven to keep warm and they'll crisp up on top. Same is true of gnocchi which is even easier to make than pasta dough for those who've never tried it!

    1. Thanks eclair. I was wondering if you could freeze the ravioli once made up. Working full time I like to cook in bulk and then freeze for easy week night dinners. I'm looking forward to trying these.

  12. I must try this recipe as we have several pumpkins left from our vine. I wonder if sage would go well with the pumpkin as a flavour for the sauce?

    Personally I know we eat too much meat but unfortunately I have very few vegetable recipes I do like. I need to add more to my daily repertoire.

  13. This recipe is such perfect timing for me, Rhonda. I have had the most amazing crop of pumpkins this year and I've been searching for recipes that appeal - this fits the bill!
    Thank you for sharing.

  14. That looks fantastic....my kids don't eat pumpkin so maybe that's a way to introduce it. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  15. thankyou Rhonda for sharing,i cant wait to try this.xx

  16. This looks delicious Rhonda. We love ravioli but I never tried it with pumpkin. I will definitely give it a try soon. We were also vegetarians for 18 years, until about 4 years ago. So I really understand when you say "I feel real shame when I waste meat". Societies have become so wasteful with meat ( and other things as well), no respect, not even a thought of the animal giving their lives for our sustenance. Very sad indeed.
    I have started reading your blog and getting lots of great advice and ideas, there is enough reading here for the next decade I think. Thank you. Elisabeth

  17. My eldest and I just went to a pasta making course with a lovely lady down on the South Coast a week before the fires hit. She said plain flour is just fine but use the better quality ones not the generic ones but sorry I can't remember why though it was important. Also air is the enemy of pasta dough so always cover the bits you are not using with a bowl or some such thing. Apparently the best surface for working pasta dough on is pine board(oiled of course)as it absorbs excess moisture. Your post today is really making my tummy rumble. Thanks for sharing. Cherrie

  18. We are eating more and more vegetarian dishes (I haven't had any meat at all today!) This recipe looks DELISH! I definitely want to give it a go this coming weekend! Thank you Rhonda!

  19. Hi Rhonda I was quite surprised to read you had both been vegetarian for several years - you never cease to amaze me. My parents were farmers when I was growing up and I have never been a vegetarian or even thought about it. However my teenage son chose to be a vegetarian two years ago and whilst my husband and I continue to eat meat we have cut down a lot. Initially I found it a pain having to cook different meals and then we gradually began to just eat what he ate and now (mainly through blogs) I have discovered lots of amazing vegetarian recipes and we don't think twice about eating three or four vegetarian meals each week. Had my son not made his choice I would never have learnt how to cook with all these different ingredients and I love that they meld so well with simple living. Vegetarian meals have made a HUGE difference to our grocery bill. This year my son has thrown a spanner in the works by deciding to be vegan. To be honest I wish he wasn't but I respect his choices although I have had to explain that it his choice and that I am not cooking vegan only but there are plenty of things I can cook that he can eat and he just has to do more for himself. Once again a learning curve for me and him but also a valuable one. I am really pleased that I have the knowledge to make good food with a lot of non perishable ingredients and I am amazed at what I see families buying when I go to a supermarket (and yes that was me a few years ago). It was my birthday yesterday and when my son asked what I would like I knew exactly what I wanted and now have a copy of your book! I am hoping in time that both my kids will read it.

    We have bought free range eggs for over 20 years (we also had our own chooks when we had small acreage) as I have always felt battery farming was cruel and unnecessary but now I also have a much better awareness of factory farmed meat and whilst there are economical choices we must make, this influences my meat purchases too. I am really glad that Aldi sell a lot of grass fed meat as for me that is a much better choice, as is free range chicken.

    I love your blog - it is part of my morning ritual. Usually a very early morning ritual but last night I did not sleep well as we went out for dinner for my birthday and whatever was in the food (preservatives I guess) kept me awake all night - should have stayed home and cooked good food lol!! Thanks again for sharing your wealth of information and inspiration.

    1. You're a top mum, Shangri La. I hear of a lot of parents giving their children a hard time for going vegan. You seem to be very supportive and, I am sure, you have seen the benefits too--an even cheaper grocery bill!

    2. Hello shangri la, what a lovely comment. I would have done the same thing with vegan cooking. You're doing your son a favour for him to learn how to cook his own food. Vegan can be difficult. I hope you enjoy reading the book. I'm surprised it's still selling so well, happy but surprised. I'll see you again early tomorrow morning.

  20. Looks and sounds delicious, will have to try !
    Mabel ((()))

  21. You've inspired me yet again!

    I have a bag of pasta flour in the storecupboard sat there looking all forlorn, now I shall have a go at some ravioli with it. I might even drag the breadmaker out of the cupboard (it's about time it earned it's keep) to do the kneading.

    At the moment we are eating our way through the contents of the cupboards and freezers and all this year I am trying to live off just £480 housekeeping money so it's important that EVERYTHING in the cupboard is used up, especially at the moment when I have so little growing in the veggie beds, roll on Spring.

    Glad to hear of Hanno's reasonable diagnosis and that all is in hand with his treatment.

    Sue xx

  22. I love your homemade pasta recipe. We haven't made pasta for years, but now I'm inspired. Was intrigued with your comments about eating meat. You would enjoy Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" about their family's year of eating only local or home-grown meat and vegetables. Jane

  23. Looks intimidating - but I would love to try and give it a go. My 5 year old loves to cook - so this could be a project we work on together :)

  24. Why have I never thought of the idea of using the breadmaker to knead pasta dough Sue?! Doh! Lovely looking recipe Rhonda - I have a pasta machine but have only used it once or twice - this might encourage me to get it out of the cupboard again.
    We eat a lot less meat than we used to - both in terms of the amount used in any one meal and in terms of the number of times we eat meat per week. we buy less, but higher quality meat - always British, and so far as we can higher welfare standard too - you really do notice the taste difference.

  25. This looks wonderful Rhonda, I'll give it a go, if Hanno says it's good then it is! Whilst on the subject, a few days ago you said for us to try to find 12 dishes that we could cook really well, and then add to that staple in due course. Must admit, I found it a struggle to name 12 since I'm always cooking different things, husby says we never have the same thing twice! Not entirely true though, so I now have my list of basic dishes to call upon. But I'd be ever so interested to hear what your 12 basic dishes are Rhonda.

    1. Roast chicken, chicken curry, risotto, pork roast, pork casserole, mushroom omelette, stir fry, spinach pie, homemade pizza, rissoles and red cabbage, spaghetti bolognese, salmon and potato salad, pea and ham soup, vegetable soup, fresh fish and salad, corned beef and colcannon, potato pancakes, quiche.

      Sue if what you're doing works for you, don't change. I'm just offering suggestions to readers who may be struggling with their food preparation. If you're able to create different dishes all the time, it tells me you're a good cook. :- )

    2. Brilliant, thank you very much Rhonda. I share with you in my 12 the chicken curry, the stir fry, the homemade pizza, the spaghetti bolognese, pea and ham soup and the quiche. The others are meatloaf, cajun chicken, beef and rowan jelly casserole, rigatoni sausage bake, pineapple chicken, slow cooker pulled pork, maple mustard & apple pork chops and a seasoned chicken and veg dish. Gosh, I make that 15, how did that happen?!!!

    3. Sue, I forgot meatloaf, that's one of mine too. Your list is full of deliciousness. I'd love to know your slow cooker pulled pork recipe.

    4. Here it is Rhonda, I was going to email you a printable copy but I can't seem to find an email address at the mo:

      Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (16 servings, but can be halved!)
      • 1 whole Medium Onion
      • 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder or leg
      • 2 cups Ketchup
      • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
      • 1 cup Brown Sugar
      • 5 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
      • 5 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
      • 1 Tablespoon Sweet Smoked Paprika
      • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
      • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
      • 2 teaspoons Salt
      • 2 teaspoons Pepper

      Preparation Instructions
      Throw chopped onion in the bottom of a large crock pot, lay pork on top. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the pork in the crock. Cook on high heat for 3 hours and then turn to low for 5 hours or until pork shreds easily with a fork. Take out of the slow cooker, shred the pork and serve with the remainder of the preheated sauce. If you prefer, you can shred the pork, put into an oven dish, pour over the remainder of the sauce, cover with foil and bake for 10 mins or so until hot enough. If your joint of pork is a smaller one than this, (which mine usually is, around about 3lb’s –ish as there are only the two of us), you can halve the rest of the ingredients. And of course, you can then divide any left-overs into portions for freezing. I find I can usually get four meals out of this.
      Rhonda, I normally get a pork joint that has the skin on, so I take that off before cooking the joint, and roast it in the oven to crisp it up as crackling nearer the time, along with the roast potatoes. The sauce is a nice bbq sauce. Any fat in the pork seems to disappear like magic, leaving you lovely lean meat to shred. I got this recipe from http://tastykitchen.com/ and I have slightly modified it to my own preference, but you will find on that site plenty of other similar recipes. Hope you enjoy!

    5. Hi Sue, thanks for the recipe. It looks like something we would enjoy and I have all the ingredients here. I have a pork shoulder in the freezer that I can skin and bone myself. My sister is coming up next week, I'll try this when she's here. Thanks again.

  26. That looks very good! I went vegetarian last weekend also. I had some sweet potatoes, acorn squash & butternut squash as well as a couple of sweet onions. I peeled & cut up one sweet potato, 1/2 of each of the squashes, and half of an onion. All of this went into my dutch oven with 1/2 a can of chicken broth, a splash of sweet white wine and water to cover. Then I added a little candied ginger, a shake of ground sage and a bit of turbinado sugar. This cooked on low all morning, about 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Hubby & I had this Root Vegetable Stew for lunch served over couscous. It was very good! I have some of the leftovers for my lunch today, and I am looking forward to them already. No, I didn't measure anything, so I am not sure how much of anything went into the stew. my mother always told me that I should write it down as I make something!!! lol

  27. A British supermarket sells a pumpkin and amaretto ravioli, it is delicious, but a bit decadent with liqueur and crushed amaretti biscuits! It did make me want to try my hand at making it, though I have made rough, stodgy strips the few times I attempted pasta. Thank you for your nice simple tutorial, I think I will have another go this week with our last (precious!) winter squash.

  28. Oh yes, another yummy recipe to try! Thank you Rhonda :)


  29. This looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing this with us. I also wanted to take a moment and let you know how much I enjoy seeing the Jamie and Alex's pictures on your page. They are absolutely adorable :)

  30. Yummy! I'm so glad you posted this. Someone was talking about it on the forum a bit back, and it got me to craving it. I had the BEST pumpkin ravioli in Sydney years ago. Now I can try my own. :)

    -- Beulah

  31. I live in Tanzania in a small town where you just can't get amazing things like ready made, fresh pasta and I was craving it last week! So glad I found this recipe. It's going into the regular rotation as we all loved it and it was so much easier than I imagined it would be! Thank you!


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