Recently I read in an article that 45% of the Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but there is only 8% chance of being successful.
Not sure what are the statistics about Europeans, but I can assume them to be very similar. In fact I believe that it’s not realistic someone to decide to make life changes as of Jan 1st – it just doesn’t seem to be the best time of the year. I am pretty sure that the winter weather and the lack of sun are some of the main factors for the low level of resolutions’ success (does anyone know if in Australia the accomplishment rate is higher?).
On the other hand maybe I can test the statistics myself by making my own New Year Resolution.
Instead of deciding to start going to the gym (mission impossible) or to eat sweets only once per week (even less possible) my resolution for 2014 is to become more experienced in the preparation of homemade pasta. My simple goal for this year is to prepare several kinds of stuffed pasta, at least twice each one. These exercises will probably not convert me automatically to a master of pasta making, but for sure I will improve my techniques and hopefully many people will enjoy my dishes.
Today’s recipe is my first experience for this year. It is inspired by the famous Capellacci di Zucca from Ferrara, an Italian city in Emilia Romagna region. I had the chance to try them for first time on the day before Christmas and I immediately fell in love with this type of pasta. I am not very much into pumpkin in general, like many other people, but I can’t imagine someone not liking Capellacci di Zucca al Ragu!
When I came back home I really wanted to prepare them, but I knew that this was not an easy dish for inexperienced non Italians like me. But I decided at least to try to make similar ravioli, so that maybe after trying several times, eventually they might turn out satisfying.
Of course they didn’t become as good as the capellacci that I ate in Ferrara, but they were not too bad either. The main problem was that I had to skip the ragu (or Bolognese sauce, as it is more commonly known) due to lack of time. We used a canned sauce with meat and lots of tomato, but in my opinion too much tomato doesn’t go well with pumpkin. So if you don’t have a good homemade ragu, it’s better to eat the pumpkin ravioli with sage and butter sauce (the recipe is here).
For the pasta dough:
250g flour type 00
50g semolina flour
3 large eggs
Pinch of salt
Make a well with ¾ of the flour (combine the two types) and put the salt and the eggs in the middle. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon until they start forming a ball. Work the dough by hand until it becomes homogeneous. Add more flour if needed (if it becomes too hard, you can add a little water). Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough stay in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Separate the dough into several pieces and run it through a pasta maker. Start with 0 and gradually increasing until you reach level 5. Do not process the dough past this level as it will be too thin for the ravioli. Lay finished sheets on a floured surface.
For the pumpkin filling:
400g pumpkin pure (made of baked and processed pumpkin)
50g grated Parmesan cheese
½ egg, slightly beaten
1-3 tbs bread cramps (depending on the density of the pumpkin pure)
Combine all the ingredients and whisk until the mixture becomes thick.
Cut the ravioli dough into rectangles. Place some of the pumpkin mix in the center of one rectangle. Using a pastry brush or with a finger moisture with water on the edges. Fold the ravioli in the middle, so that the filling stays inside and press on the edges, so that they stick well together. Place the ravioli on a floured surface.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add 2-3 spoons of salt. Lower the heat to medium and gently place a few ravioli at a time into the hot water. Boil them 3-4 minutes. Serve the ravioli with ragu or butter & sage sauce.