Not going to lie, I’m not huge on Halloween. I don’t put up cob webs or skeletons; I don’t hang ghosts in the windows. Growing up, Halloween parties just weren’t my thing. Perhaps it was too much effort to dress up or perhaps I didn’t want to freeze in a costume parading downtown nightclubs.
My Halloween is more relaxed. In my early 20’s, I would put out a few pumpkins, turn the lights on outside and have a bowl of candy waiting for the kids to knock on my door. I’d make my bolognese with fresh pasta and turn on a old movie. After devouring half the bowl of candy, I would cuddle up and listen to the fireworks outside.
Now that I live in the city (and in a high rise), my Halloween consists of themed dinner parties: Dim lighting, candles, wine and delicious food. This year, I wanted to create a delicious recipe you can make throughout the year. I took the colors (orange and black) and created this Black Pumpkin Ravioli with a brown butter sage sauce. A classic dish with a dark twist.
To make the pasta black, you can go “gourmet” and add squid ink (or cuttlefish ink). It took me awhile to find it, but a local grocer ended up having it in the pasta aisle. Squid ink doesn’t really have a flavor because you use so little of it. If you add too much, it could have a weird fishy taste. I always add a little bit at a time (just enough to get the pasta black).
If you don’t have squid ink or you are vegetarian, you can use food coloring to make the pasta black. Simple add equal parts yellow, red and blue (unless you can find black food coloring somewhere). With food coloring you may need to add more to get the color really black.
Check out the recipe:
For the Pasta Dough
Weigh the flour and add salt until blended. Pour onto a clean surface and make a well. In a small bowl add the eggs, squid ink or food dye and olive oil; whisk until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the well and grab a good ol’ fork. Slowly incorporate the flour until the mixture is combined and start working with your hands. Slowly work until it forms a dough. Knead the dough until the dough feels similar to play-doh. If the dough is too wet, add more flour; if the dough is crumbly or not moulding together properly, add a small amount of water. Once you have a good feeling dough, wrap in saran wrap and let rest. If you can let it rest an hour or more– great! But, if not, this recipe will be good after 10 minutes.
For the Filling
In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, add oil, shallots, garlic and cubed pumpkin. Add allspice and sage and cook until pumpkin is tender. Once tender, puree mixture with a blender. Allow to cool and set aside.
Note – For the filling, you can also use butternut squash and either fresh or pureed in a can. Make sure you cook down the puree to get out all the moisture. This will ensure the filling isn’t soggy when you make your ravioli.
For the Sauce
Add butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Allow the butter to melt while stirring occasionally to allow even cooking. Add the lemon juice and continue to cook until the butter starts to foam and then turn color. Once the butter has turned a nutty brown, add sage, a pinch of salt and cook them until crispy. Sauce is ready to serve.
Note – it’s important you do not have the heat on too high or the butter will burn.
Making the Raviloi
Once the dough has rested, dust some flour and get out your pasta making machine. Divide your ball of dough into 4 and keep the rest under saran wrap to prevent it from drying out. Start thinning out your dough (remember – the pasta will expand in the water so make it thinner than you expect).
Take your long sheet of pasta and cut in half. Place the first half on a lightly floured surface and spoon your filling (about the size of a quarter) onto the sheet of pasta with at least a inch of room in between. Brush the pasta and top of the filling with a egg wash (this will help seal your pasta)
Take your other half of the sheet of pasta and and place over top of the filling. Carefully seal the dough around the filling and get all the air bubbles out. Using a sharpe knife or pizza cutter, cut pasta into desired squares or cut into circles. Place pasta on a floured sheet pan and place saran wrap over top. Repeat the above steps until all your pasta and filling are gone.
In a medium sized pot, add water and a tablespoon of salt. Allow to boil then add the ravioli. Cook for about 1 minute then transfer pasta to the brown butter sauce. Transfer to dish and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Optional: I also sauteed some plums and garnished with some pomegranate seeds to spruce it up!