I’m proud to say that my pumpkin ravioli have become something of a “specialty”, which I’ve made for several parties with great success, and they’re often requested among my friends and family (you may even recognize them). It’s been a process overtime to get them just right, and I will say that a pasta roller and a ravioli mold are crucial to my success (these two tools make it especially easy to endure a ravioli-making marathon and keep a bag of the goodies in the freezer). Beyond that, it’s all about intuition and good taste.
I don’t expect you to be floored by the complexity of this, because really, delicious can be so, so simple. For my pumpkin ravioli filling, the mixture is easy: 1 can of pumpkin puree + 4 oz soft goat cheese + 1 tbsp maple syrup + cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Of course you could roast some fresh pumpkin and match it, and no doubt the flavors would be complimented by additional seasonings. I’ve just found that it’s not necessary to create something decadent and delicious. In this filling, the pumpkin flavor really comes through, and the goat cheese adds a rich creaminess and makes the dish a great compliment to a sauvignon blanc.
The sauce is where I have done the most experimenting. Sometimes it’s creamy, other times it’s not. The latest variation involves minced shallots sauteed with ginger and cinnamon, simmered in apple cider and chicken broth, kicked up by a dash of adobo sauce, and thickened with a bit of cornstarch. Dried cranberries and chopped walnuts were the finishing touch I used in throwing this together as the second course for a dinner party.
This evening, I happened to comment that the only thing that went wrong (as something is always sure to) is that I might have been a bit too generous with the adobo sauce – and I questioned whether the heat overpowered the dish. My friend Jim quickly reassured me that the only thing wrong with my ravioli was that I only gave him three. Sometime, I’ll have to make this the main course, rather than just a small taste.