These sweet potato ravioli combine homemade egg pasta with a smooth and flavorful sweet potato filling. Yes, they take a little effort like most homemade ravioli, but it's easier than you might think. Comforting and delicious in every bite.
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I first made a version of these years ago when I first bought my pasta maker. We enjoyed them then, but for whatever reason I largely forgot about them and made other pasta instead in the meantime. Until recently, that is, when we had a lot of sweet potato in our fruit and veg box and I was looking for something a little different to make.
All the sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrition, so I was happy when both of my kids enjoyed them. But I admit, I maybe went a little overboard on plain roasting. Easy, yes, varied, no. So, I have had to cut back a lot since they have gone out of favor with one child.
To be fair, I do vary how I use them a bit, like my black bean sweet potato salad and sweet potato tacos. Plus we all love some sweet potato brownies. But it was time to try something else. Plus, I was also keen to use my pasta maker again having missed it a little while we were in Australia. OK, I know that sounds a little sad, but hey.
These are largely based on the traditional Italian pumpkin ravioli (tortelli di zucca) which we enjoy a lot during pumpkin season. But the sweet potato flavor most definitely shines through here and makes a lovely change.
You need to pre-cook the sweet potato for the filling which you can, in theory, do in a few ways. However, I highly recommend roasting. Steaming or boiling can lead to them being too watery. Cooking whole in the microwave is a good next-best option though it's not quite as good flavor-wise, and they can dry out in parts.
Tips for roasting sweet potatoes
Roasting the sweet potatoes is the best way to get the most flavor and a great texture and here are a few tips on how to make them delicious, both for this and in general.
Roast the sweet potatoes whole as you don't really want to get any crisp edges since you'll be mashing them. Just wash then prick the skins all over and place them on a rack towards the bottom of the oven.
Put the sweet potatoes in the oven while it's still cold. I know this may sound strange, but it's a tip I learned a while back and does indeed help bring out their natural sweetness. Plus, it's easier than having to wait around for it to reach temperature, anyway.
Exactly how long they take depends on the shape and size, so you will need to test them as you go. Test them for doneness with a knife inserted in the middle. If soft and tender, it should be done. If you still have some resistance, leave it a little longer. You will probably see the skins starting to ooze a syrup-like juice as well.
Allow them to cool in the skins rather than peeling while warm. This, too, helps to concentrate the natural sweetness. For these ravioli, you can roast them ahead and refrigerate for a day or two before using.
When ready to mash, just peel away the flesh from the skin. You can mash the sweet potato by hand though you may get a little stringiness - just try to pick out the larger bits. Also, avoid the flesh near the tips as this tends to be the most stringy. Alternatively, you can blend in a food processor to be a little smoother if you prefer.
Making the ravioli
Once you have your mashed sweet potato, you simply mix it with the grated parmesan and a little nutmeg and/or black pepper if you wish for a little extra flavor. Then, make your pasta dough, let it rest a little and get rolling!
This is a basic egg pasta dough, with the classic ratio of 1 egg to 100g flour, along with a pinch of salt and some olive oil. You can mix by hand, or use a food processor to make things a little easier. Then, knead a couple minutes to get the gluten going.
Let the dough rest for around 30 minutes before you start using it as this time helps the gluten relax and become more pliable. Just roll some of the dough at a time and keep the rest covered to save it drying out.
Lightly flour the dough regularly as you roll to avoid it sticking, both when rolling by hand or with a pasta maker. You want to roll really thin for this as remember, it will expand slightly when cooked and will be double thickness around the edges. I usually roll to a "6" on my pasta roller, when you are starting to be able to see through the pasta.
Just a teaspoon of filling should be plenty - you can use a mould to help or just make in rows on a work surface. Use a little water to help stick the two sides of the ravioli. Try to avoid having any air pockets in with the filling. You can add any offcuts from previous batches in to the next piece of pasta dough. Just knead it in as it will likely be drier.
Place formed ravioli on a lightly floured baking sheet/tray and cover if you won't be using immediately. You can make a few hours ahead, as suits. They then take just a couple minutes to cook. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan which can make them stick or the water cool too much.
Since the flavor here is relatively delicate and a bit autumnal, I'd recommend serving these relatively simply with mild flavors. I particularly like a simple browned butter, but a cream sauce would also work well.
These work well as a meal in themselves, but they would also be good with a simple salad on the side, or alternatively some sauteed or roasted vegetables like greens or broccoli.
Sweet potato ravioli are a wonderful combination of fresh homemade pasta and a smooth, slightly sweet filling. They are comforting little pillows that may take a little time, but it's well worth it for one tasty, rewarding meal.
Try these other homemade pastas:
- Crab ravioli
- Fresh spinach pasta
- Tortellini in brodo (meat filled pasta served in broth)
- Pumpkin pasta (with pumpkin in the dough)
- Plus get more mains recipes in the archives.
Tools to make ravioli:
Sweet potato ravioli
For the filling
- 900 g sweet potatoes uncooked weight - 900g/2lb giving approx 650g/1.4lb (around 2 cups) peeled roasted weight
- 55 g parmesan (2oz = approx ⅔ cup) - highly recommend real parmigiano reggiano
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper (optional, or nutmeg)
For the pasta dough
- 3 eggs (large)
- ½ teaspoon salt approx
- 300 g flour (300g = approx 2 cups plus 2 tbsp)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil approx
- 45 g butter 3tbsp (more/less to taste)
To prepare the sweet potato
- Wash the sweet potatoes but leave the skin on. Prick the skin in a few places around all sides then place on a baking sheet/tray. Turn the oven on to 400F/200C and put the sweet potatoes in while the oven is still warming up.
- Leave to roast until the sweet potatoes are soft and tender when you insert a knife in the middle - around 1 hour but it may take a little more/less depending on the thickness and size of the sweet potatoes. Allow them to cool to room temperature before peeling. Then scoop out the flesh and mash or blend 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 30 minutes. 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 pureed sweet potato, grated parmesan and black pepper/nutmeg if using until well blended. Set aside to use as you roll and fill the dough.
To form ravioli
- When ready, use roughly ¼ - ⅙ of the dough at a time and cover the rest that you aren't working with with a damp cloth or the cling film to save it drying out. Prepare around 2 large baking sheets/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 browned butter - warm the butter in a small skillet over a medium-low heat until you can see it brown slightly and the smell is becoming nutty. Drizzle over the top of the cooked ravioli. Alternatively, a cream sauce would also be good.
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