Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli

I really love pasta and have been known to make my own, but over the years I have learned a great standby if you want to make your own tortellini or ravioli quickly. I always keep a pack or two of the Chinese Gow Gee wrappers in the freezer so that I can make a batch of tortellini if the mood takes me. All the hard work is done, and all you need to do is think about what kind of delicious filling you want to put into them. You can buy Gow Gee wrappers at any Asian supermarket and they are very cheap. If you have never tried this cheat's way of doing filled pasta, give it a go.

Last Monday, as it was "No Meat Monday", I decided to make a vegetarian tortellini, using pumpkin and some ricotta cheese that I had in the fridge. It was an easy dish to do after work and it tasted just lovely. Instead of a traditional style sauce, I simply sauteed some young zucchini (in season right now) and added this to some chopped ripe heirloom tomatoes, a few herbs and some good olive oil. I really loved eating the tortellini with this sauce that wasn't really a sauce. It was fresh and tasty, and you could taste all the different tomato varieties with each bite.It is a great way to enjoy pasta in Summer, that tastes lighter than a full throttle, simmered sauce.

I have noticed that heirloom tomatoes are becoming more available, so next time you are at the greengrocer, check out these different varieties. As well as having different tastes, you will find them in all sorts of colours, which adds a great visual impact to your dishes. My tomatoes were red, orange, green and purple-ish, yellow and even dark cherry coloured. Just beautiful.

3 Steps to making the tortellini

As with making any filled pasta, it is a good idea to make sure that your filling is cold, otherwise the pasta will soften and possibly fall apart as you make them. The cold mixture is much easier to work with, so let your pumpkin cool down before making your filling. Even better, cook it the day before.

When using Gow Gee wrappers, your tortellini may also be a little more delicate than commercially made filled pasta. Just be aware of this and treat them with a little more TLC when you are draining them. It is a good idea to place them individually on the plate with tongs, instead of using a serving spoon, just to make sure you don't burst them.

Hope you all enjoy this beautiful no meat option. We will definitely be adding it our vegetarian repertoire.

Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli
with heirloom tomatoes and summer zucchini

You will need: 1 packet Gow Gee Wrappers, 1 egg, 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin, 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, pinch of nutmeg, 1 clove minced/crushed garlic,salt and pepper.

For the sauce: 2 small zucchini finely diced ,1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1 cup finely diced tomatoes (I used a variety of heirloom tomatoes). 1 tablespoon chopped continental parsley, 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Parmesan for the top of the dish (shaved or grated)

Method: Combine the ricotta, pumpkin,parmesan cheese, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if required.

Whisk the egg in a bowl with a tablespoon of water.

To make the tortellini, spoon some of the pumpkin mixture into the middle of the gow gee wrapper. Do not use too much mixture or the tortellini may burst during cooking. Brush one side of the wrapper with the egg mixture.

Fold the Gow Gee wrapper in half and press down firmly, ensuring you squeeze any air pockets out of the tortellini in the process. Bring the two corners together and fasten them, by squeezing them firmly so they stick together - add a little of the egg mixture to use as "glue" if you need to.

Put the tortellini on a clean dry tea towel in one layer, until you are ready to cook them.

To make the sauce, heat a splash of olive oil in a pan. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook gently until just cooked (it should still be a little bit firm)

Combine the still warm, cooked zucchini in a bowl with the tomatoes, parsley, basil, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil - cook the tortellini until they float to the top of the pot- this won't take very long, just a minute or two. Gently drain the tortellini and place on serving plates. Spoon over the sauce and drizzle a bit of extra olive oil over them if you like. Top with parmesan and serve right away.

Serves 2-4


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