Pumpkin ravioli may take a little time to make, but they are so worth the effort. Comforting little pillows of deliciousness, they're addictively good!
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There’s a restaurant near us that serves pumpkin ravioli each fall, and I always have to get it at least once. It has such a wonderful comfort factor, and I’m always a fan of both ravioli and pumpkin.
I always kind of assumed they served it as part of the general pumpkin-frenzy that seems to happen here each fall, and never really gave much thought on if it was ‘a real thing’. But when we were in Italy earlier this year, I realized it was.
Our visit, as I mentioned when I shared my prosciutto salad recipe, was to the area around Bologna, in Emilia-Romagna province. It might not be as well known by name as say Tuscany, but you will almost certainly know the food from the region.
Much of what is these days thought of as classic Italian fare is from that area, as well as some great products. Bolognese sauce is from Bologna, balsamic vinegar is from nearby Modena and prosciutto de Parma and parmigiano reggiano are from the Parma region just slightly further.
The delicatessens in Bologna are quite the sight with all these local products, various other salumi (Italian charcuterie) and homemade pasta of various shapes and sizes. And that’s before you get on to the fresh produce.
Traditional Italian pumpkin ravioli
Tortelli di zucca, pumpkin ravioli, is a traditional dish that both I and my son had a couple times on our trip and really enjoyed. In fact my then 5 year old ate almost a full adult serving, he enjoyed it so much.
I always thought our local restaurant made a pretty good version until I was spoilt by the homemade Italian pasta which was much heavier on the egg yolk, and the filling felt richer and softer too.
Naturally if I was going to make it at home, I wanted to draw more on the Italian original. Although that being said, as I did a bit of digging I found there was more than one version.
Tortelli di zucca in Mantova/Mantua, Lombardy
I was intrigued to find that the ravioli/tortelli from this area are made with amaretti cookies crushed into the filling mixture. If you’ve never had them, these are very dry almond cookies, that can be a little bit of an acquired taste on their own, but they are great for cooking with as they add a lovely flavor and act as a bit of a sponge.
They also have another ingredient called mostarda, which is kind of like a fruit chutney. I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to give this kind a try, but not just now.
Tortelli di zucca in Parma, Emilia-Romagna
This is the version I think I had in both Parma itself and nearby Modena. It has a much simpler filling, primarily pumpkin, along with parmesan, egg and optionally a little breadcrumbs to help the texture be a little firmer and a touch of nutmeg for flavor.
It’s this version from Parma that I have tried to replicate here, and I have to say these are truly delicious.
Steps to make pumpkin ravioli
- Roast the pumpkin in the oven - you don't have to use fresh pumpkin but I highly recommend it;
- Puree the cooked pumpkin and add parmesan, egg, a little salt and nutmeg and, optionally, breadcrumbs.
- Make the pasta dough by combining eggs and flour. Let it rest a little before rolling into sheets.
- Either use a pasta maker or rolling pin to roll out the dough in to thin sheets (though not too thin as they may burst).
- You can use a ravioli mould to form the ravioli, filling each gap with a spoonful of filling then putting another layer of pasta on top and press to form ravioli. Without a mould, lay a sheet of pasta flat and place a few spoonfuls in a row, with gaps in between, then fold over, press in between filling moulds then cut through middle.
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I won't even begin to suggest that this is a quick meal to make. Just like the crab ravioli I have made before, even if you are relatively practiced this will take a bit of time.
But there is something wonderfully therapeutic, I think, about cranking the handle of a pasta machine, spooning the filling, pressing them together and popping out the finished ravioli. After all that, it's a good thing they cook up quickly so there's no more waiting!
See how they come together in the short video!
Pumpkin ravioli, tortelli di zucca, may not be the quickest meal to make, but they are definitely incredibly good. They take a bit of time, but it's easy to get in the swing of making them, and the results are so worth the effort. Comforting little pillows of deliciousness, they're addictively good!
Looking for more traditional pasta recipes? Try these:
- Pasta puttanesca (with tomatoes, anchovy and olives)
- Tortellini in brodo (meat and cheese filled pasta in broth)
- Sardinian fregola with clams (a small toasted giant couscous-like pasta with a tomato-based sauce)
- Pasta con sarde a mare (a Sicilian pasta dish using fennel, pine nuts and raisins).
Tools to make ravioli
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Pumpkin ravioli (tortelli di zucca)
For the filling
- 615 g pumpkin puree approx from ½ a medium pie pumpkin
- 55 g parmesan (2 oz = approx ⅔ cup) - highly recommend real parmigiano reggiano
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
For the pasta dough
- 3 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 280 g flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 58 g butter (more/less to taste)
- 8 sage leaves
To prepare the pumpkin
- While you can use canned pumpkin, I would highly recommend you don't. Instead, use half of an approx 4-5 lb (1.8-2.2.kg) pie pumpkin, cut it in half and remove the seeds and soft stringiness from the inside. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Place the cleaned pumpkin half cut side down on a baking sheet/tray and roast for approx 30 minutes until the skin is darkening and it is soft to touch. Leave to cool before scooping out the flesh and mashing or blending to a smooth puree.
For the pasta dough
- To make the pasta, put the eggs and salt in a food processor and pulse until broken up and mixed. Add approximately half the flour and the olive oil then pulse a few times to combine. Add the rest of the flour and pulse a few more times to mix and until the dough comes together, away from the sides into a ball, or at least into large crumbs.
- Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead with floured hands for a couple minutes. It should be slightly soft but not sticky. Note it will be firmer than a typical pasta dough.
- Wrap in plastic/cling film and allow to rest at room temperature for around 30min. At this stage, you can keep the dough in the fridge for a day or two until ready to use.
For the filling
- Mix together the pumpkin puree, grated parmesan and nutmeg until well blended. Set aside to use as you roll and fill the dough.
To form ravioli
- When ready, divide the dough into 6 pieces and cover the pieces you aren't working with with a damp cloth or the cling film to save them drying out. Prepare some trays by dusting them with flour.
- As you work with each piece, flatten it out slightly, dust with flour then put it through your pasta roller on the widest settings a few times (about 2-3 should be fine) until smooth. Dust with flour in between if at all sticky. Then move up the settings rolling once or twice at each settings until you get to the thickness you would like - I usually go to around 6 on my pasta maker. It should be very thin but not breaking up.
- If using a ravioli mould, lay the sheet of pasta over a ravioli mould then press down the frame to make indents. Fill each with a teaspoon of filling.
- Lightly dampen around the edges of each ravioli with a little water then roll another pasta layer to place on top, or fold over the rest of the piece you have if it is long enough, trying to avoid any air getting in each one. Press down with a rolling pin to seal then trim the excess pasta from around the side of the mould and add to a piece to use later. Carefully remove each ravioli from the mould and lay them on the floured trays.
- If not using a mould, you can make them by laying the first piece of pasta out, dotting teaspoons of filling out evenly in lines with gaps between, dampening between then laying another layer on top. Then gently press in the areas between the filling to seal and cut.
- Repeat with the rest of the pasta and filling. Once all the pasta has been used and you are ready to cook, place a few ravioli at a time in a shallow pan of boiling water for around 2-3 minutes until they rise up to the top, then remove with a slotted spoon and cook the rest in batches.
- I served these with a simple sage browned butter - warm approx ½-1tbsp (7-15g) butter per person with a couple sage leaves in a small skillet until you can see it brown slightly and smell is becoming nutty. Drizzle over the top of the cooked ravioli. Alternatively, a cream sauce would also be good.
Try these other pumpkin ideas:
Pumpkin Sausage Penne Pasta from Jonesin' For Taste
Pumpkin Chia Pudding from April Golightly
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from The Crumby Kitchen
Pumpkin Chocolate Donuts from The Bitter Side of Sweet
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from Daily Dish Recipes
Pumpkin White Chocolate Lava Cakes from The Spiffy Cookie
Pumpkin Pecan Pie Layer Cake from Love and Confections
Pumpkin Pie Dessert Dip from Hardly A Goddess
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This post is sponsored in conjunction with PumpkinWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies, who also supplied the giveaway prizes, to aid in the creation of the PumpkinWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.