One of my friends recently found out that she can no longer eat anything with gluten in it, so she asked me if I would be interested in adopting her pasta roller. As sad as I was for her loss (if I were no longer allowed to consume massive amounts of bread, I’d probably need a few days to mourn, personally), I was thrilled to get a hand-cranked pasta roller. My father-in-law, who possibly gives the best gifts ever, was generous enough to give me a pasta roller attachment for my KitchenAid mixer a few years ago, and as fun as it was to use, I found that it was sort of hard to control, as it runs mechanically. This hand-crank pasta roller is insanely easy to use, and it gives me plenty of control over my pasta. The same weekend that she gave me the roller, I knew that I had to get to work on some pasta. I had made some roasted duck the day before, and I also had some leftover pumpkin puree in my fridge, so what better way to celebrate autumn than to combine these two savory ingredients in the perfect pasta package: ravioli. The pumpkin is rich and buttery when combined with a tiny bit of reserved duck fat, ricotta cheese, and minced shallot, while the duck is tender and a bit salty, which helps cut through the richness of the pumpkin. I had to use some duck fat in my pasta, of course, and topped it all off with some nutty browned butter and thick, crispy bacon lardons. It’s cold outside, so why not make something that will warm you up inside? If you make these and don’t want to eat them all the same day, no worries – just wrap them, uncooked, in some plastic wrap, freeze, and enjoy at a later date! Kramer and I were amazed at how simple this dish was to make and how delicious it ended up being. I hope that you all take some time to yourselves this weekend, as the holidays are fast approaching and things will start getting stressful soon – there’s no better way to relax than by spending a quiet Sunday afternoon making and eating some homemade ravioli!
Shred your leftover duck (or whatever other leftover meat you are using) to small, ravioli-sized pieces.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup hot water (you may not use all of it)
- 1 tablespoon duck fat (or room temperature butter)
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- ½ teaspoon duck fat (or butter)
- ¾ cup shredded roasted duck (roasted pork or turkey would work well, too)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ lb. slab bacon, diced (or 7-8 pieces of regular bacon, diced)
- In a large bowl, or on your counter, place your flour and make a well in it with a spoon. Pour the hot water into the well, and mix quickly with a fork until the water has mostly absorbed it (but not entirely). Add in the duck fat (or butter) and salt and mix the dough with a fork until it is smooth. Set aside while you make the pumpkin filling.
- To make the pumpkin filling, puree the pumpkin, shallot, ricotta, and duck fat (or butter) together until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary by adding more ricotta, salt, and/or pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
- Lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough a bit until it is very smooth and comes together easily. Separate the dough into two balls, then roll out the first ball as thin as possible (or, alternatively, if you are lucky enough to have a pasta roller, as one of my friends was kind enough to give to me, roll out the dough with that – it is completely possible to do this entirely by hand, though, so don’t worry if you don’t have one). Make light outlines on the dough where you plan to cut the ravioli out (but don’t cut all the way through – see photos above) and place about 1½ to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin filling on each ravioli, followed by a few pieces of shredded duck – be careful not to overfill the ravioli.
- Roll out the other ball and layer the same sized sheet of dough on top of the ravioli with the filling (see photos above). Press down around the filling to help seal the ravioli, then use whatever cutter you prefer and cut out the ravioli. Press the edges a bit to seal them more if you need to, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet while you finish making the rest of the pasta.
- Before you boil the pasta, as it will cook quickly, make your browned butter sauce and bacon. Dice your bacon and cook over medium-high heat in a medium-sized skillet, until crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spatula and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Wipe out your skillet, and add in your 4 tablespoons of butter. Brown the butter over medium-low heat, until it has a nutty aroma, about 8-10 minutes. You can strain the butter to remove any solid brown bits, but I like the flavor and texture of them, so I leave them in.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and drop the ravioli in a few at a time until they float to the surface of the water (about 2-3 minutes at the most). Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the browned butter sauce and bacon.