Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holiday Recipe Exchange: Fresh Herbs

There is no doubt about it...I love some alone time in the kitchen. Back when G and I were D.I.N.K.S. (double income no kids) I found this incredible recipe one fall and Pumpkin Ravioli has become an annual tradition for dinner parties. This recipe is time consuming but worth every delicious minute! I have found that I can make them in advance and freeze them. Which is a good thing because with two kids I rarely have an hour to myself, let alone the 4 hours needed to put this ravioli and sauce together.

Friday was a very rainy day and Gordon had the day off. So in an effort to regain some sanity, I spent some time in the kitchen with my pumpkin. This dish can be made several ways (see variations), but I like the ravioli the best. A few things to note: DO NOT use canned pumpkin puree, it will not taste the same at all. Also fresh herbs work best, dried herbs do not give this dish the same taste. You need to make this at least once. It is absolutely amazing and will become your most requested dish!

Pumpkin Ravioli
(adapted from a recipe by Wolfgang Puck)

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dried bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, plus 6 small leaves for garnish
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 eggs, beaten
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 package Won Ton wrappers
Water (to seal raviolis)

Sauce
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups chicken stock
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Directions
Heat a saute pan over low heat and add 5 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the cubed pumpkin and cook, stirring often to stop it from sticking and burning, until it softens and falls into a puree. This will take awhile (about 30 minutes) so empty your dishwasher, read a magazine or, if you must tend to your kids.
Use a potato masher to help mash the pumpkin once it has softened. Add 1/2 of the cream and half the herbs and cook over a low heat for approximately 1 hour, or until the puree is thick and the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and beat in an additional 1 tablespoon of butter. Whisk in the beaten eggs, season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set a side to cool. If you want a more velvety texture use a hand blender to puree the pumpkin.

Place one square won ton wrapper on a dry surface. Using your finger dipped in water, wet the four edges of the wrapper. Place a heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture in the middle of the wrapper. Place another square on top and use your fingers to seal the edges. Make the seal as air tight as possible. Set aside on a cookie sheet  lined with parchment paper. Repeat. You'll get about 30 ravioli.

Prepare the sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallots. Caramelize the shallots and then add the chicken stock. Reduce the stock with the shallots by 1/2. Add the cream and reduce by half.  Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan and add the remaining sage and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the ravioli to the rapidly boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Divide the ravioli among  dishes and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish each serving with a fresh sage leaf and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Variations:
Place the pumpkin filling in cooked large shells or manicotti. Cover the pasta with the sauce and generously sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and starts to brown. Serve immediately. 


Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Shenandoah Growers Organic Fresh Herbs.


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