Home-made pasta is great to eat and pretty easy to make. There are so many different sizes and shapes to make, and you can create different flavours by adding vegetables and herbs, as I did here by adding pumpkin to the dough.
This is a recipe for pumpkin ravioli with goat’s cheese I made a while back. I made two different fillings, one with goat’s cheese and watercress, the other with goat’s cheese, pumpkin, thyme and hazelnuts. The pasta dough has mashed baked pumpkin to give the pasta a lovely orange colour and subtle taste.
The basic recipe I use for the pasta dough is a Jamie Oliver recipe. Click here for the original recipe. It’s straightforward and easy to follow.
3 large free range eggs
300g Tipo ’00’ flour
3 tablespoons or so of butternut pumpkin baked in the oven with a little olive oil, then mashed. The amount you use will depend on how “orange ” you want the pasta to be. If you add too much, the pasta will be too soft to roll, so start out adding less – you can always add more.
3 tablespoons or so of any soft goat’s cheese
1 tablespoon or so of wilted watercress ( a few good handfuls of watercress will wilt down to 1 tablespoon – instructions below)
1 tablespoon mashed baked pumpkin (squash)
2 teaspoons roast chopped hazlenuts (about 10 or 12)
A few chopped thyme leaves
Put the eggs and flour into a food proccesor and whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to the work surface and bring the dough roughly together. Add the baked pumpkin, starting off with a little at first, then adding more if you need to. Bring the pasta dough together into one lump.
Knead the dough and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, until the pasta dough starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it.
Now is the time to prepare your filling, so you are ready to fill the ravioli once the pasta is rolled.
To wilt the watercress, place it washed in a small frying pan or saucepan with the barest amount of water. Cook over a low heat until it wilts. Break up the goat’s cheese with a fork, and mix in salt and pepper to taste.
To half the goat’s cheese add the watercress, and to the other half mix in the mashed pumpkin, thyme leaves and roast chopped hazelnuts.
I should note here that I inadvertently mixed in some wilted watercress into some of my pasta dough – so I went with it – creating some lovely green speckled pasta dough that you can see in some of the photos.
For the pasta, dust your work surface with some Tipo ‘00’ flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process five or six times. It might seem like you’re getting nowhere, but in fact you’re working the dough, and once you’ve folded it and fed it through the rollers a few time, it should be smooth and silky.
Now roll the pasta dough working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you’ve got down to the narrowest setting, fold the pasta in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half again once more until you’ve got a square-ish piece of dough. Turn it 90 degrees and feed it through the machine at the widest setting. As you roll it down through the settings for the last time, you should end up with a rectangular silky sheet of dough with straight sides. For ravioli, roll the pasta down to the point where you can clearly see your hand or lines of newsprint through it.
Once you have rolled the pasta, you will need to work quite quickly, as the pasta dries out. Place the rolled pasta on a lighly floured board. Cut the pasta sheets into two if they are really long, or use two rolled sheets if they are the right length to make the ravioli. You can cover the unused sheets with a tea towel for a few minutes while you are making ravioli with the other sheets.
Place small spoonfuls of the filling on one pasta sheet, allowing for a border when you come to cut the ravioli. Moisten the exposed pasta and put the other pasta sheet on top. Press down to divide the sheets into individual ravioli and, making sure you don’t trap any air with the filling, seal the ravioli edges.
Cut pasta into shapes using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife. Dust the ravioli with a little flour to help them keep their shape if you’re not cooking immediately, or alternatively pack them carefully into freezer bags and freeze for cooking in the future.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and put the ravioli in. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until al dente. The fresher the ravioli are, the quicker they will cook.
For a quick sauce, heat a little butter in a frying pan until the butter foams and add lots of black pepper. Pour over the ravioli and serve with shaved parmesan.