Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 33 - Pumpkin Ravioli

Sorry I've been away, thank you for the emails reminding me to keep you up to date. I appreciate it! So much has happened that it's hard to go back and write the entries I missed, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to relive some of the wonderful days we've had here at VISFI.

Slow foods week has been awesome. Spending the days in the kitchen with Chef Keith and talking to Dan about his favorite subject (food) has been inspirational. I can't wait to get back to my own kitchen space.. Today's lesson are two slow food meals, lunch and dinner. For lunch we chose one meal that we don't get much on the farm because it is so labor intensive, but there is nothing better than homemade pasta.

It was a long day in the kitchen, but well worth it. There is a synergy between the members of this group and that is amazing to step back and watch. Ashley doesn't often work well with others, but even she is realizing the support and cooperation that we have. Getting out my camera today and capturing a bit of it on film was the beginning of my final project. It feels a little like the beginning of the end, but I will enjoy putting the final pieces together.

The Pasta:
3 eggs
2 cups flour (we used AP, but you can do a percentage of whole wheat)
+ whatever flavor you want to include. We made: parsley, rosemary, moringa (our superfood), black pepper, and a few others)

If you are going to make a pumpkin filling from a garden pumpkin, first harvest a massive pumpkin, chop it into chunks with a machete, and bake it. Don't forget to take out the guts.

Make a well in the flour and crack the eggs into the center. Beat the eggs with your hands and slowly work in the flour. You may or may not need all of the flour depending on the size of your eggs and the humidity, keep watching the dough for a good firm, not tacky, but not dry consistency. Unlike bread that you can only knead a little in order to develop the gluten, a lot of kneading is required for pasta. To knead the dough, fold it into itself and press, rotate, fold it into itself again, and press again. Continue this process for 20 minutes. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. We wrapped our dough balls in wax paper and set them aside and in the meantime, we made some vegan pasta for our more animal-friendly friends.

Vegan Pasta
2 c flous (1/2 to 1/2 whole wheat to white)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water

Follow the same mixing procedure. Just like in the non-vegan version, you may not need all of the water.

Once your dough has rested, cut each dough ball into 1/4ths and roll very thin. You want to roll it out into an oblong shape with a long, even motion and pressure.
Once you can see through the oval cut it into squares. If you cut larger squares you can fold it over into a triangle, if you do smaller squares you can stack two on top of each other and make the square, it's up to you.

When the pumpkin is out of the oven and soft it's time to mash that up and make your filling. We used mashed pumpkin with a little sage, but you can put any herb that compliments the flavor of the pumpkin and goes well with what flavor you put in the ravioli (if anything).

Now it's time to stuff them! Take the squares and put a dollop of your cooked filling into the center. The key here is to not put too much because it's essential that the pasta seal completely, you don't want it to fall apart.

Boil and top with the awesome homemade sauce we had going on the side.. (saute onions and garlic, add tomatoes to cook. Remove from heat and blend. Right before it's time to serve, add the fresh herb spices so they are at their maximum flavor. Delicious!)

I would have put in some post boiling lunch shots but by the time we were done making these beauties we were so hungry that we scarfed them all up and no one took pictures. I guess that is the beauty of slow food.

For dinner we made pizza, always one of my favorites!

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