Beautifully imperfect! That’s what I learned from my friend Chef Maria. The beauty of handmade pasta is in the imperfections. Oh don’t get me wrong, the rhythm and discipline of all those wonderful nonnas that use homemade gadgets to give us that perfect looking gnocchi, tortellini etc., is truly an art, a skill and something that takes years to perfect. While they will look at what I have made and shudder, I think most other Chefs would appreciate the beauty in it. Yes, it is made with love, so that far outweighs rules of perfect looking (it must taste good though) pasta.

The beauty is in the pasta itself; it should be light and airy. When you eat it, you shouldn’t feel full – I have this on good authority! You should feel satisfied but not stuffed. I aim for this every time I make pasta for my family. They love the homemade stuff and yes the expectation is that it will be homemade when dad says “pasta tonight”. I like making ravioli. As a kid growing up in a Goan household (remember my family grew up eating rice and curry everyday – anything else would just not be acceptable), my mother would rely on this phenomenon in a can called Chef Boy-ar-Dee ravioli. I would so look forward to it – it is what I knew as pasta growing up. I was 8, what did I know.

Pasta was new to us; my dad wouldn’t touch the stuff. Over the years, he and I both have changed our idea of what good pasta is (okay me significantly more than him). But enough of that! The filling for this ravioli is pumpkin, Thai chili(s), garlic, onion and of course fresh cilantro. Remember – much like your marinades, if your filling is tasty, anything you put it in will be tasty. The recipe isn’t my usual pasta recipe which uses semolina flour, it is with all-purpose flour. Totally different end product but also very tasty! I served it with some easy to make White Bean Ratatouille, a PC Cooking School “What’s for Dinner” recipe. Yes vegetarian, yes oh so delicious and yes oh so satisfying on a cool night like this one. Try this please. I promise, you will not be disappointed. This recipe makes about 12 large sheet ravioli, enough for a filling dinner for 2 with a side.

1 cup pumpkin puree
3 Thai chilies, chopped
½ onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a heavy bottom non-stick frying pan, sauté the onions in olive oil over medium high heat
Add the garlic just as the onions start to get wilted and colored
Add the Thai chilies – stir everything to mix
Add the pumpkin puree and stir to bring everything together, add a bit more oil if the pumpkin is sticking to the bottom of the pan
Add the cilantro and stir
Salt and pepper the mixture – taste, season and taste again – it should be tasty, make it tasty if it is not – it should be but make it to your taste
Puree this in a processor; it should be a smooth paste – let cool (If you don’t have a processor, stop buying those latte’s and pick one up, in the meantime, you can just dice finely, you just don’t want any sharp edges sticking through your pasta and breaking the sheets)

For the Pasta
1.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading, dusting etc.
2 eggs
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp. olive oil

Mix all the ingredients by hand or with a mixer using the dough hook attachment
If by hand, knead for about 8 minutes – it should be soft and pliable (about 3 – 4 minutes using a processor)
Wrap in plastic and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes
You will need a pasta machine for this – let me qualify, you can most definitely hand roll it, and if you are adventurous enough, then I suggest you do that
You can use the Kitchen Aid Pasta attachment or the counter top attachment model (again, if you don’t have one, buy one or ask for this for your next birthday, it’s a win-win situation for the person that gave it to you and for you!)
Start at the lowest setting and end up at number 7 – a couple of passes through “0” or “1”, then 3, 5 and finally 7 – at 7, it will take the filling and be the perfect thickness to encase the filling and still provide a wonderful bite of extra pasta
Lay the sheets on the counter, keep them covered and lightly floured – do not lay one sheet on top of the other without parchment in between – they will stick together and will not separate
Working with one sheet at a time (about 18” x 5”), put a teaspoon of filling about every 2” down the center of the pasta
Dampen (do not use a brush for this, just your fingertips) the edges and in-between with a little water and fold over the pasta, pressing in the middle between the mounds of pumpkin filling
Cut and press the edges of each ravioli to seal thoroughly
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously – remember, the water should taste like the ocean, that’s what my Italian Chef’s thought me!
Drop no more than 10 ravioli into the pot at a time
After about 3 minutes the ravioli will float to the surface
In the mean time, coat a mixing bowl with some heated olive oil and melted butter and a pinch of cayenne (put 2 tbsp. of butter with 2 tbsp. olive oil and microwave it to melt the butter, the oil will heat through and become very thin, pour the excess into a small ramekin or bowl)
Remove the floating ravioli from the pot and add it to the oiled bowl, once the ravioli has been coated, remove to a plate, and continue – adding more oil to the bowl before adding more cooked ravioli
Serve immediately – garnish with parmesan flakes and more chili powder if desired (I desired :))
As always, enjoy!

pumpkin ravioli3
pumpkin ravioli2

pumpkin ravioli1