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Pumpkin Ravioli with Goat’s Cheese



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. 

Ingredients

Pasta

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.

Filling

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

Method

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.

Jamie Oliver’s Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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This variation on traditional Mac ‘n’ Cheese is from Jamie’s Super Food family Classics. It’s a lighter version of the dish and is full of tasty veg in the form of butternut squash (pumpkin), so it’s very healthy!

I have included Jamie’s recipe with only some slight tweakings here. I made the recipe without the crumbs and popped beans topping, adding a few seeds and basil leaves as garnish.

The photos I took are of a HALF quantity – which was a pretty gernerous dish. The recipe below is for the FULL quantity.

Ingredients

l leek

1 onion

olive oil

1 butternut squash

1 heaped tbls plain wholemeal flour

500ml semi-skimmed milk

450g dried macaroni

2 tsp English mustard

300g cottage cheese 40g Parmesan cheese

For the topping

1x 400g tin of cannellini beans

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp dried red chilli flakes

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 slice of wholemeal bread

My topping

A handful of toasted seeds (pepitas, linseed, sesame or what ever you have in the store cupboard).

Basil leaves

Method

Wash and trim the leek, peel the onion, then finely chop and place in a pan on a medium heat with 1tablespoon of oil. Cook and stir while you carefully halve the squash lengthways and deseed, reserving the seedy core. Chop the squash into 2cm chunks, leaving the skin on, and stir into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the flour, followed by the milk and 500ml of water. Simmer with a lid ajar for 35 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Parboil the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and tip back into the pan. Carefully pour the contents of the veg pan into a food processor and blitz until smooth (working in batches, if necessary) to make your sauce. Taste and season to perfection, then pour over the pasta, add the mustard and cottage cheese, finely grate over most of the Parmesan and mix well. Transfer to a high-sided baking dish (30cm x 40cm), then grate over the remaining Parmesan. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

For Jamie’s crumbs and popped beans:

With 15 minutes to go, drain the beans, then toast and dry fry them in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until popped, shaking occasionally. Peel the garlic and put in the processor with the chilli  flakes, seedy squash  core,  rosemary  leaves  and  bread  and  blitz  into  crumbs.  Add to the beans, then toast and toss until crisp and gnarly. Serve the pasta with the toasted beans and crumbs on the side. Good with a lemon-dressed salad.

For my topping:

Serve with a handful of toasted seeds scattered on top and a few basil leaves.

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Jamie Oliver’s Super Squash Lasagne

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I am cooking lots more healthy recipes these days, trying to cut down on the “bad” things in my diet. I am also interested in vegan recipes, as I sometimes cook for a vegan work colleague. Similarly I often make gluten-free recipes as increasingly friends are suffering gluten intolerance. The passionate baker in me finds that a little daunting at times!

This recipe for a meat-free, low-fat lasagne, is dedicated to Quirky Sister No 1. She is recovering from major surgery and is learning to adjust to some dietary restrictions. She’s doing very well!

This is another recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. I really appreciate Jamie’s approach to healthy and delicious eating. While all the recipes are carefully written to be nutritious, there’s still that lovely attention to how food tastes and looks. We eat with our eyes so food has to look good to make us want to tuck in! It’s a simple butternut pumpkin lasagne. In Australia we call butternut squash pumpkin. Squash or pumpkin, this vegetable goes well roasted in slices, in the lasagne. It’s also a source of vitamin A according to Jamie. He has baby spinach in the lasagne too, great for iron.

I am including Jamie’s recipe from his excellent book, with a few variations, as in the lasagne pictured: I used ordinary lasagne sheets, not wholewheat, as I prefer the former. I also used half the amount of baby spinach, as that’s all I had on the day I cooked. Half the quantity was plenty! I left off a sunflower seed topping.

I love the classic combination of pumpkin and sage, and  added a scattering of sage leaves to each layer. It worked really well, giving a nice depth of flavour to the pumpkin. I substituted sage leaves on the top of the lasagne, too, for the rosemary sprigs Jamie mentions.

Ingredients

olive oil

1  large butternut squash (1.5kg)

1 level tsp ground coriander

4 cloves garlic

1 fresh red chilli

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

200g baby spinach

a handful of fresh sage leaves, plus a few more for the top

60g Parmesan cheese

250g dried wholewheat lasagne sheets

400g fat-free cottage cheese

100ml semi-skimmed milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and rub 2 large roasting trays with a little olive oil. Carefully  halve and deseed the squash, leaving the skin on, then slice into ½-inch half moon shapes.
Lay in a single layer across the trays. Sprinkle over the ground coriander, and a pinch of sea salt  and black pepper, then roast for 50 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden.
Meanwhile, peel the garlic and deseed the chili, then finely slice both and place in a large pan on a medium-high heat with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until golden, then add the balsamic and tinned tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and 1 tin’s worth of water. Simmer on a medium heat for  15 to 20 minutes until slightly thickened, or until slightly thickened, then season to perfection. ( I found that the tomatoes needed a good 30 minutes to reduce down).
To layer up, spread a third of the tomato sauce across the base of a 25cm x 30cm baking dish. Cover with a layer of raw spinach leaves and a few sage leaves, a layer of roasted squash,  a fine grating of Parmesan and a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with  lasagne sheets.
Loosen the cottage cheese with the milk, mashing the curds a little, then lightly season and spoon over the top. Finley grate over the remaining Parmesan. Rob the remaining sage leaves with oil, then place on top of the lasagne.
Bake at the bottom of your oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling, then serve.
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Pumpkin and Persian Feta Salad

IMG_9307This is essentially a Jamie Oliver recipe with a couple of tweaks in the changing of some ingredients. I have made it a little bit Middle Eastern, using soft Persian feta and a little of the wonderful spice sumac.

The recipe is one of series that Jamie has created for Woolworths in Australia, and is available as a leaflet in store. As always, the recipe has simple ingredients, an easy to follow method and the result is a tasty, colourful salad.

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Ingredients

1/2 pumpkin (any variety, but butternut is sweet and easy to roast)

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

1/4 tsp each ground chili, sweet paprika, sumac

1 avocado

Juice of 1/2 lemon

I tbls extra virgin olive oil

4 spring onions

100 gms Persian feta

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Scrape the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin, reserving for later. Cut the pumpkin into 3 cm chunks, place in a large baking dish with a good lug of olive oil. Sprinkle over the salt, pepper, chili, paprika and sumac. Toss well to mix.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven to cool for 10 minutes.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot, dry pan until slightly coloured. Remove to cool.

Halve, destone the avocado and cut into chunks. Place in a bowl with the lemon juice and olive oil. Finely slice the spring onions, leaving some longer green tops for garnish.

Add the pumpkin and seeds to the bowl and toss well to make sure the dressing is distributed. You could leave in the bowl or spread over a larger bowl or serving platter.

Crumble the feta into large and small chunks and scatter over the salad, with the remaining green spring onion tops.

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Pumpkin, Leek and Wild Garlic Soup

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A visit to the wonderful Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield this morning and the tempting produce available made me want to make soup. I was quite taken with the wild garlic featured on one particular stall, so I created a soup in which it could feature.

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Pumpkin and leek go well together, and the garlic gave the soup a mild yet slightly pungent flavour. A definite improvement on traditional garlic or onion!

This soup allows you to be flexible with quantities – be creative!

Ingredients

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

A knob of butter

2 heads of wild garlic

1 large leek

Generous grind of rock salt or to taste

1/4 medium-sized pumpkin

500 mls chicken stock

Black pepper

Sour cream and thyme leaves, to serve

Method

Heat oil and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Fry roughly chopped wild garlic and the leek with the salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic and the leek begin to soften.

Add the pumpkin chopped in large chunks to the saucepan. Pour in the chicken stock, and season with black pepper. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Turn heat back to medium, cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then blend with stick blender in the saucepan until the desired consistency. I usually like my soup a little chunky, but on this occasion I opted for a smoother consistency.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh thyme leaves.

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