In mid-October, we took a trip to Half Moon Bay to visit a pumpkin patch. I was ridiculously excited to pick pumpkins because the only other pumpkin patch I have ever been to is the Glass Pumpkin Patch at MIT (which is pretty awesome, too).
|Photo by Flickr user Erik Mallinson|
After picking our pumpkins, we went through this crazy two acre labyrinth maze constructed of hay, which was surprisingly fun! (Of course, we first had to hide our large pumpkin in the brush so that no one would steal it while we were "trapped" in the maze).
We may have at some point befriended a group of children who seemed to know their way around but, in reality, made us even more turned around.
And at no point did we search Google maps to see if there was a satellite view of the labyrinth maze (sadly, there was not). We eventually found our way out (in under an hour, yay) and to our surprise, our pumpkin was safe and sound in its super secret hiding place.
After our fun-filled day at Arata's farm, I decided to cook the small sugar pumpkin and make pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sauce with crispy sage and hazelnuts. I have never cooked with pumpkin before, so I looked up the best way to peel a pumpkin and found this video.
I diced the small pumpkin and sauteed it in butter with fennel seeds and shallot until soft. I mashed the pumpkin to a puree and made wanton raviolis. Like other winter squash, sage and pumpkin have a natural affinity for each other, so I tossed the raviolis with a brown butter sauce, crispy sage and hazelnuts. I finished the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of nutmeg and a mountain of snowy parmesan.
I thought the fennel seeds and pumpkin was a lovely and unique combination and can't wait to try other variations with a fennel bulb.
The pumpkin ravioli was absolutely delicious; in fact it was so delicious that we forgot to take a picture! Next year, we will be sure to get more pumpkins so there will be more pumpkin ravioli to be had. We may even have to grab one of the farm's wheelbarrows to cart around our pumpkins and some of the heirloom winter squash!
Pumpkin ravioli in a sage brown butter sauce
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 medium sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced into 1" cubes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup water
1 package of wanton wrappers for ravioli
4 tbsp butter
8 to 10 sage leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
2 tbsp hazelnuts or walnuts
pinch of nutmeg
parmesan, finely grated
Heat a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Add 2 tbsp butter or olive oil, and once foam subsides, add fennel seeds, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add diced pumpkin, season with salt and pepper, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and shallot, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until very tender, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Remove from heat and mash to a puree with the back of a fork.
On a clean work surface, lay out a few wanton wrappers and moisten the edges with water. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the pumpkin filling in the center of each wrapper. Top each with another wrapper on top, and press to remove any air pockets, and then press firmly along the edges to seal . Repeat with remaining wanton wrappers and filling.
Bring a large wide pot of water to a boil, salt and let simmer. Add ravioli and cook until just tender, a little less than 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Transfer to serving platter and blot with paper towels.
Heat butter in a small saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add hazelnuts and sage leaves, fry leaves to a crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove leaves and hazelnuts and drain on a paper towel. Season leaves with salt. Continue cooking butter until deep golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg, drizzle with lemon juice and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour brown butter sauce over raviolis and garnish with fried sage leaves and hazelnuts. Pass finely grated parmesan at the table.