Pumpkin ravioli is a great meal for the fall. While making pumpkin ravioli from scratch sounds really difficult, it’s really not. I promise (really)!
While I encourage you to go the all-out homemade route, I get that you might not have homemade pumpkin puree and fresh ricotta at the ready. So it’s fine to use store-bought alternatives.
The basic egg ravioli dough is a little messy to do, but it’s fun; if you have kids, they can lend a hand, as well. If you want to simplify things a bit, though, you could make the dough in a food processor. If you don’t want to go the homemade dough route at all, you could use purchased wonton wrappers. I haven’t made them this way, but I’ve seen some great looking wonton wrapper raviolis, so try that if you like.
Egg Ravioli Dough
Adapted from Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations by Lois Ellen Frank
Ingredients for the dough:
*3 cups sifted organic all purpose flour
*4 eggs, preferably organic and free-range
*1 tsp. Himalayan or sea salt
*1 tsp. olive oil
Directions for the dough:
Pour the flour into a mound on a clean, flat work surface. I used my kitchen table. Use your hand to make an indentation in the center of the flour.
Crack the eggs into the well…
…and use a fork to whip in the oil and salt. Mix the flour in from around the edges.
Mix and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. It should be smooth and elastic. If it seems dry, add a little water; add a little flour if it seems too wet.
When it is the proper consistency, roll it into a ball…
…and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Once your dough is ready, you have several options. You can divide the dough into small handfuls and roll each one out separately, or you can use a pasta maker to help you make flat sheets of dough. I do have a pasta maker somewhere, but didn’t feel like hauling it out, so I used a rolling pin to roll the dough into two flat shapes…
…and then trimmed the edges so that they were straight. In retrospect, I wish I had used the pasta maker, as it’s best for your ravioli dough to be really thin. Mine ended up a little thicker than is recommended, and the texture of my raviolis was a bit chewy as a result.
I cut the dough into small squares and set them aside to make the filling.
Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli Filling
Ingredients for the filling
*3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree or organic canned pumpkin
*1 cup store-bought or homemade ricotta cheese
*1 egg yolk, preferably organic and free-range
*1/4 cup parmesan cheese
*pinch of Himalayan or sea salt
*pinch of nutmeg-optional
Directions for the ravioli filling:
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
Place a small spoonful of filling in the center of a square of dough.
Brush edges lightly with water and place another similar-sized square of dough on the top. Push down on the edges to seal them.
You can use a fork to crimp the edges together if they are not sealing well. Set aside on a baking sheet and proceed with the rest of the ravioli.
Cook the ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water. They will only take a few minutes to cook, so watch them and remove with a slotted spoon when ready. I enjoyed mine with my favorite tomato sauce and fresh parmesan…
…but you can check out these posts from my fellow bloggers for some other delicious pumpkin ravioli sauce ideas!
Pumpkin Ravioli with Pumpkin Cream Sauce from RhodeyGirlTests
Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter from Wandering Chopsticks
Pumpkin Ravioli from Love and Olive Oil
homemade ricotta with honey and dried figs
Homemade ricotta cheese is surprisingly easy to make. Well, let me rephrase that a bit…making a fresh cheese very similar to ricotta is surprisingly easy.
True ricotta cheese is made from the whey obtained from mozzarella production. But you can make a very good ricotta stand-in with just three ingredients: milk, lemon juice or another acid (like white wine vinegar), and salt.
Ricotta is not cultured like most other cheeses, so it’s not at all complicated and there isn’t much work involved…do give it a try and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious fresh cheese you can use in both sweet and savory recipes.
Recipe for Homemade Ricotta Cheese
adapted from The Savory Way by Deborah Madison
Makes about 1 pint
- 1/2 gallon milk (I used fresh raw milk from a local farm; if you can’t get or prefer not to use raw milk, try it with the best quality whole milk you can find)
- 3 Tb. fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar (I used white vinegar)
- 1/2-1 tsp. Himalayan or sea salt
Heat milk and lemon juice or vinegar over very low heat in large heavy pot. Heat to 180°F, the temperature just before boiling. You will see tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan and you’ll notice curds beginning to form.
Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Adjust your oven racks to make room for the pot and then heat your oven to 200°F for a few minutes. Turn the oven off, place the covered pot inside, and leave undisturbed for 5-6 hours.
Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Using a finely slotted spoon or skimmer, scoop curds from pan and transfer to cheesecloth-lined colander. Season with 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Mix and taste the cheese. Add the other 1/2 tsp. salt, if necessary.
You can let this drain for just a few minutes for a very soft cheese, or allow it to drain for several hours or overnight for a much firmer, dry cheese.
The whey that drains out cannot be used to make more ricotta, but it can be saved and used for baking (you can use it as part or all of the liquid in homemade bread recipes, for example)…
…or if you have animals, they love to drink it.
You can serve your cheese “as is”, or with a little fruit jam or fruit butter. It’s also delicious when drizzled with a little honey and served with dried figs…
…or with maple syrup and berries (a nice simple breakfast, snack, or dessert). You could also sprinkle it with a little raw cocoa powder and/or ground cinnamon.
You can use your homemade ricotta in recipes for cheesecakes, pumpkin ice cream, or other homemade sweets; it’s also great mixed with scrambled eggs, and of course with homemade pasta recipes. It will stay fresh for 5-7 days.
More Homemade Ricotta Inspiration From Around the Web:
Homemade Ricotta Recipe from 101 Cookbooks
Ricotta Cheese from Simply Recipes
Fresh Ricotta Cheese from Former Chef
Before I began studying holistic nutrition, I would never have touched organic coconut oil. I was under the impression that you should eat no more than 30% fat in your diet and that you must limit your intake of saturated fat to below 10%. I was sure that fat makes you fat and saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. But then I learned that these are nutrition myths, not truths.
That’s right. The lipid hypothesis (the theory that’s been promoting the “avoid fat scenario” for the last 50 years) is not necessarily correct. Research proves that certain fats like coconut oil are essential to health and may even promote weight loss!
Most of the fats most of us eat need to go through a process called “emulsification” in order to be digested by the body. This is accomplished with help from bile salts that come from the gallbladder. This is a fairly long process, and depending what other types of foods you eat, usually results in some of the fat that you eat being stored by the body. Diets high in these fats as well as carbohydrates typically cause more fat storage due to higher circulating insulin levels.
One type of fats, called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short) are different from other fats. They do not require emulsification and are instead absorbed directly from the small intestine to the liver. The body is able to quickly convert them into energy, and they can actually boost your metabolic rate. You probably already know about the omega-3 fats that are said to be protective against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, and it’s definitely wise to consume an omega-3 source such as cod liver oil. If you are not already taking advantage of the benefits of MCTs, too, you should consider starting right away. Sources of MCTs in the diet include organic coconut oil, butter (preferably organic grass fed), organic palm oil, full fat milk (preferably raw), and non-hydrogenated lard (from pastured animals). Yes, you read the list right. And yes, all of these foods contain saturated fat and were once considered dieting “no-no”s.
Saturated fats are not the terrible thing many have been led to believe- they are important for the structure of all cells in the body, they boost the immune system and are necessary for the absorption of minerals such as calcium. And now that we are finding that many of the fats that are saturated contain MCTs, its really worth reconsidering your position if you’ve always avoided these foods.
Replacing all the man-made vegetable oils (high in problematic polyunsaturated fats) and incredibly unhealthy trans-fats in your diet with a combination of omega-3 fats and the natural saturated fats high in MCTs mentioned above will give you many total body benefits. If you having a hard time believing these foods are actually good for you, consider that these are all natural foods with a long history of use by native populations around the world.
Organic coconut oil and other foods made from coconut such as unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut butter, coconut juice and coconut flour, have received a lot of positive press regarding their health conferring and weight reducing abilities. Studies have reported weight loss in individuals taking between 1-3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil per day.
In addition to the metabolism-boosting effects, most people who consume it along with other MCTs report that these foods have both a satiating as well as an appetite suppressing effect. This allows many people who typically always feel hungry and frequently overeat to experience fullness and satisfaction with their food, allowing them to eat less and lose weight.
Organic coconut oil is not just a healthy supplemental oil and a healthy cooking oil, though, it’s also great for fighting infections (it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal activity) and it is wonderful for the skin!
Health benefits of organic coconut oil and other MCTs aside, the foods that contain them are really quite delicious. So go ahead and introduce organic coconut oil (and the other MCTs) into your diet!