Monday, July 17, 2006

Egg on Their Face

Butternut Pumpkin, Sage butter and Goat's cheese Ravioli

When your mother gives you a pasta machine for your birthday what do you do? Well the obvious answer is to make pasta of course, but before this could transpire I had to silence the sniggering taunts from other family members who laughed at the prospect of me making my own pasta. For someone who previously had little interest or experience in cooking before, they were quite bemused at how I had acquired such a novel distraction in so little a time. Apparently, I somehow went from being completely detached from everything associated with food and the culinary arts to suddenly knowing the difference between Chanterelles and Portobellos.

The fact is, I have always been surrounded by food and have had the benefit of a rich culinary upbringing, but until very recently I never embraced it. Now in my twenties, you can see why it was such a surprise to many when I begin heralding the wonders of homemade shortcrust pastry and start spouting French cooking techniques previously unheard of, coming from these lips.

Seven months after my birthday, the pasta machine remains unused. Until today that is. I decided that today would be the day that I would break in my seven-month old, mint condition pasta machine by making some egg-pasta ravioli. After tasting
PastabilitiesButternut Pumpkin, Sage and Goat’s Cheese Ravioli, I vowed that if I were ever to make ravioli, I would endeavour to replicate this particular one.

The filling seemed fairly straightforward as all the ingredients were included in the name of the ravioli. And indeed it was simply a matter or combining all these ingredients together. A few taste tests here and there, a few sprinkles of salt here and there and it was done. The filling was velvety and delicate; the hints of sage with the creamy pumpkin tasted blissful. The three ingredients all mingled together, mutually enhancing each others’ flavour. The burnt butter also added an exquisite touch of nuttiness to the filling.

And so it appears that it is they, the doubters that have egg on their faces, as that it was they that were so rapt about my egg pasta ravioli, so much so that they were eating bowlfuls of it. It is only right that it is I, that gets the last laugh. Making pasta can so so much fun.

Egg Pasta

Preparing the pasta dough

250g "00" Italian Pasta flour
2 large, fresh, free-range eggs
1 egg yolk

Place flour in a mound on a dry flat surface.
Create a well in the centre of the flour, and crack the eggs and yolk into the well.
Using your fingers or a fork, gently mix the eggs slowly incorporating more and more flour until you create a smooth dough.
Keep kneading the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Shape dough into a ball and wrap in clear plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

NOTE: Use organic or free-range eggs when possible and it is important to use the freshest eggs that you can obtain.
Also if available, use Italian “00” flour as that they are especially milled for pastas and contain the proper amount of gluten to achieve the desired consistency for pasta dough.

Butternut Pumpkin, Sage Butter and Goat’s Cheese Filling

Fried sage leaves

500g Butternut Pumpkin
25g unsalted butter
8-10 sage leaves
60g goat’s cheese (chévre)
sea salt

Roast the butternut pumpkin in the oven for 40 minutes, or until soft at 190°C.
When the pumpkin is cooked, spoon out the flesh and place in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl for the excess water to drain into.
Allow pumpkin to cool and drain for 20 minutes, and then remove the excess water.
Meanwhile, place butter and sage leaves in a small saucepan and fry until sage leaves are crisp and butter has browned.
Remove the sage leaves and pour the butter into the bowl with the pumpkin.
Add the goat’s cheese and a pinch of sea salt and combine until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
Set aside until ready to fill ravioli.

Rolling the Pasta Sheets

Pasta Machine

Divide the dough into four portions and work with one portion at a time, keeping the others covered.
Take one portion of dough and knead until smooth, roughly flatten the dough with a rolling pin.
Lightly dust with flour on both sides before running through the machine.
Using the pasta machine at its widest setting (highest number), roll the dough through, ensuring that it remains in one piece.
You may want to fold this sheet over and run it through the machine again, at the same setting to ensure you have a smooth texture.
Continue running the sheets of pasta through each setting (decreasing in number), until you achieve the desired thickness (with my pasta machine, I rolled the pasta through, until the number 2 setting).

NOTE: Remember to dust the pasta sheets on both sides to prevent it from sticking.
Also make sure you have adequate bench space for the pasta sheets to lie flat on the bench.

Assembling the Ravioli

Rolled pasta

Lay your pasta sheets on a flour-dusted surface.
Heap a good amount of filling onto the centre of each sheet at one end. Repeat this all the way along the sheet at 5cm intervals.
Using a pastry brush, dipped in a little water, evenly brush the pasta around the mounds of filling.
Fold the pasta sheet over, covering the mounds until the two ends meet.
Push out any air by cupping the filling and extracting the little air bubbles that form.
Using a knife, pizza cutter or crinkly cutter, trim the sides of the ravioli.

The ravioli is now ready to be cooked or they can be stored in the freezer, in a container dusted with flour for up to 4 weeks.

Butternut Pumkin, Sage butter and Goat's cheese filling

Butternut Pumpkin, Sage Butter and Goat's Cheese Filling
sunny perfection


Anonymous said...

Ho, ho - good for you!
The ravioli looks fantastic! No pasta maker here but I'm sure I'd enjoy your ravioli.

blueskiesfade said...

Hey thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting :-) How did you find me, just out of curiosity.

Wow, that pasta making machine sounds neat, looks like you'll be having loads of fun with it. I'm quite jealous, I love pasta, it sounds like loads of fun making your own!

nikcreate said...

I tried making homemade pasta once.. long time ago around 4 to 5 years ago, when I saw Biba on discovery channel on the telly demostrating how to she made it look easy. the only thing that i didn't think about is that i didn't have a pasta machine so i tried to flatten my pasta noodles as flat as i can with rolling pin. i didn't expect that when they get cook the would get bigger and thicker so i had a pretty thick pasta that night! i don't remember what it taste like maybe one of this days i'll give it another try

Raquel said...

Wow! are they really your first raviolis? They look PERFECT! Welcome to the wonderful fresh-pasta-world! I love it too.

wheresmymind said...

Wow..that looks incredible! Do you have a 'finished' product picture?

Anonymous said...

Hi jenjen, this is so beautiful - I especially love the first picture. I was thinking of making pasta with sage too (my herbs in the garden have gone mad and I need to use them up), thank you for the inspiration, as always.

Jen said...

Tanna- I wish you could taste some of it, it was truly delicious.

Blueskiesfade- pasta making is definitely a fun venture, but it can get out hand pretty quickly.
And BTW, I actually can't remember how I got your blog, I think you commented on another person's blog and got your link from there.

simplepleasures- oh that must have been hard rolling it out with only a roling pin, good on you for having a go! And I also underestimated the pasta expanding so much and I ended up with giant raviolis, but it was still good.

Guru- thanks, im glad that I finally got around to using my pasta machine. I won't look back now.

Wheresmymind- finished product will be the next post, coming soon.

Keiko- you have a herb garden...awesome?! Can't wait to see what you whip up with your home-grown herbs

CaiValenza said...

What a sweet blog..
thanks for your visit on our blog
Ciao From Italy

Anonymous said...

looks like you did a better job of keep the eggs in check than i did!
my dough came out perfect, but not until after i completely sullied the countertops twice with raw egg

Anonymous said...

Yum, yum, YUM......I have been planning to make homemade ravioli for a long time but haven't gotten around to it yet. Your post has inspired me. Now look who's laughing eh??? You did a great job.

Cheers, G

Jeanne said...

Aaaaarrrgh! You're killing me here! That filling is just to die for. There can be few things better than butternut and sage combined. I've been in love with sage ever since I made Owen's (Tomatilla) sage, chilli and burnt butter gnocchi.

Amazing pics too, as always.

Orchidea said...

Egg pasta... great! Your ravioli look perfect. I also bought my first pasta machine this year and tried recently. I have seen using it so often from my mom, grandmothers and aunts... it is really easy and you can make delitious things... I just love it.

Anonymous said...

I've been dying to try making homemade pasta - yours looks truly wonderful! Thank you for the step by step - sounds like you enjoyed the process thoroughly!

Jen said...

Caival- It was my pleasure, thanks for stopping by.

Ann- mind you I still managed to make quite a mess in the kitchen, it hasn't been the same since! But I think it's all part of pasta-making.

Geraldine- I highly recommend it. It's actually quite therapuetic : )

Jeanne- yes I am a new convert to sage, expecially with butter, oh what a lovely combination.

Orchidea- I agree, pasta machines are a great investement. I will definitely be using mine more often.

Gilly- thanks so much, I did enjoy the process a lot, and the eating too I must say.

Anonymous said...

thise look amazing! gorgeous pic too :) YUM. sage with butter on ravioli is the absolute best. my noni, who was from italy, used to make this for me. i remember even eating it for breakfast, ha!

Loney Kitchen said...

This looks good and simple enough for me to try making.

M. said...

thanks for stopping by my blog too. i love your photography and all the lovely bakes. the ravioli looks delish already! keep cooking and baking :)

susan said...

hi jenjen,

thanks for stopping by my blog. :) i linked to yours and found this great post! i still haven't delved into the realm of homemade pasta. honestly, baking and dough-related stuff doesn't come naturally to me. but after reading about your dish i think i may be ready. love the beautiful photos.

Anonymous said...

wow, the ravioli looks and sounds delicious. i've wanted to buy a pasta machine for ages, as i've only made ravioli one - by hand. soooooooo draining!
gnocchi has been the next best thing to home-made.
next you must dazzle them with a dessert ravioli :)

Bonnie said...

Nothing like jumping head first into pasta making! YUM YUM!