Monday, April 5, 2010

End of winter sweet potato ravioli

The temperature just broke past the 60s into the 70s. It's official: spring time is here. However, if you look in my fridge and pantry, you wouldn't know it. Farmers' markets are not scheduled to open for at least another month. Perusing the produce section of Whole Foods, most everything is from California, Mexico, or Florida. Humph.

That's okay, I've still got, um, sour kraut, tomatoes, soup stock, and sweet potatoes in my pantry.

Well, I have to admit it, sour kraut, tomato-potato soup doesn't sound very appetizing. But that's not how you do winter eating. It's enough to take one of the ingredients to make something wonderful. At this point, I've got to eat those potatoes before they grow eyes, ears, legs and walk away! Ravioli is perfect.

This can be a fairly sweet and rich dish. To balance that a bit, I like to add some unexpected zest with nutmeg (spicy, but also amps up the natural sweetness of the potatoes) and cayenne pepper. If they're not your thing, omit them.

Ingredients (for two small servings):

  • half of the pasta recipe
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, baked and cooled
  • 1 egg beaten
  • dash or so of nutmeg
  • dash or so of cayenne pepper
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 C fresh sage leaves (I have a pot growing in my window)
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 C half and half
  • 1 oz grated Parmesan cheese (some shaved cheese for serving)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mash the baked sweet potatoes. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, and half the beaten egg and mix vigorously. Set aside.

Roll the pasta dough into a log of dough about 2 cm in diameter. Cut the log into 1 cm disks (what's up with all my metric measurements - have I been in Europe too long?). On a well floured board, roll out a disk till it's about 2 inches in diameter (phew, that's more familiar). Using your finger, apply egg all around the edge of the rolled out dough.

Plop about 1 teaspoon of the potato mix in the middle and fold the dough over. Seal along the edges to make a half moon shape, or for more fun, sit the moon on its flat side and twist the corners toward the center and squish them together, like you're making them hold hands.

When you've used up all the potato filling heat some water to a boil. While you're waiting for a boil, melt the butter over medium high heat and add the garlic and sage. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes and turn off the heat.

Add the ravioli to the boiling water. They'll sink to the bottom and then dance around the top when they're done.

Strain the butter from the sage and garlic, slowly, into the remaining egg, whisking continuously. Add the egg and butter mixture back to the pan with the sage and garlic. Add the half and half and place the pan above the boiling pasta to get a little double-boiler action (saves gas, too). Constantly whip the sauce as it slowly starts to thicken. Remove from heat and add the grated cheese.

To serve, place the pasta on a plate. The ravioli will have made little cups. Fill those cups with sauce, sprinkle with the shaved cheese, and grate some black pepper on top.

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