Ravioli with pumpkin, cave-aged cheese, and apaki or the reason why I love autumn. And I hope to love it too.
So autumn is here. The time when you started closing the balcony doors at home because of a cold breeze. The time you start to wonder if you have washed the carpets. As well as the time when nothing reminds you of the abundance of summer.
But also the season of endless nights on the couch wearing socks and watching Netflix while eating your favorite comfort food. The season when mushrooms and pumpkins sprout up. Pumpkins of all kinds, white, orange and green. I always considered pumpkin as a magical ingredient. And rightly so, because it captivated me once again.
But how can you not love pumpkin? It’s here for baking the most delicious sweet pumpkin pie with homemade phyllo for your breakfast, but also for your own homemade ravioli. I won’t start with cakes. I will have no end.
So I’ll stay focused on the theme, which is nothing more than homemade ravioli with pumpkin, cave-aged cheese, and apaki. Without wanting to brag I’ll just say it’s one of the best pasta recipes I’ve ever tasted. A recipe worth jumping into the kitchen and saying, yes, I will make my own homemade pasta and it will be the most perfect I have ever eaten.
Where to pay attention
- The pasta dough
The main ingredients of the filling are three as you have already understood, pumpkin puree, cave-aged cheese and apaki. With the pumpkin I made puree very easily. A good knife was enough to cut the pumpkin and a few minutes in the oven, ready to go.
But what about all that Greek stuff? The cave-aged cheese is a type of kefalotyri cheese, made in Crete. Kefalotyri is a salty, hard cheese, made usually from a combination of goat and sheep’s milk, although it can sometimes be produced only with one of the two. It is one of the most consumed Cretan cheeses, in the top with Graviera and Mizithra.
Cave-aged kefalotyri is a cheese with ultimate flavor for the most demanding consumers based on the traditional recipe and the unique maturation and aging process of 12 months in caves. If you are lucky enough to find some don’t let it go. Buy it.
While, we have also apaki. Apaki is a traditional Cretan smoked and salted meat, made with lean pork marinated in mix of mountainous herbs and extra virgin olive oil. Apaki is smoked through a slow and natural process bringing out all of the aromas of the wood used to smoke it.
The ideal sauce for this dish could be no other than byttery sage sauce. A little butter in the pan, fresh sage and we’re ready.
- The ravioli
Attention must be given in the preparation of ravioli. You should be careful when bringing the two dough sheets together so that no air is locked inside. If there is any press from the folded point outward to remove it. Also, you need to press your finger a little further on this point so that the pasta has the same thickness.
Ravioli with pumpkin, cave-aged cheese, and apaki
Ravioli with pumpkin, cave-aged cheese and apaki
- pasta machine
For the pasta dough
- 2 1/4 cups 00 flour
- 1 cup 1 cup fine semolina
- 4 large eggs
For the filling
- 500 gr pumpkin puree , a pumpkin of 1 kg
- 50 gr cave-aged cheese , you can use kefalotyri or graviera
- 70 gr apaki, finely chopped
- 4-5 sage leaves
- freshly ground pepper
For the sauce
- 8 tbsp butter
- 120 gr apaki, chopped into cubes
- 10 sage leaves
- freshly ground pepper
- 3 tbsp pasta water
For making the filling
- To make the pumpkin puree, preheat the oven to 200 * C. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and fibers with a spoon.
- In a pan, put the two pieces of pumpkin on the grill for about 30-45 minutes. Before removing it from the oven with the help of a fork make sure it is soft.
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow them to cool. After cooling, blend the pumpkin flesh with a blender in order to make the puree.
- In a large bowl, pour the pumpkin puree and add the grated cheese and chopped apaki. Then add the chopped sage and freshly ground pepper. Stir well and leave in the refrigerator.
For the pasta
- Using mixer: Combine 00 flour and semolina in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted. Add the egg mixture and knead on low speed for 3-4 minutes or until the dough, while it might appear crumbly, will stick together when squeezed. If your dough seems dry, add a teaspoon or two of water until dough just comes together. Remember that the dough at the end should be smooth and relatively elastic. In order to test the dough, press it with your finger, if it bounces back it is ok.
By hand: On a large plate or on the kitchen counter, mix the flour with the semolina. Create a lamb in the middle and add the eggs. With the help of a fork, slowly mix the eggs into the flour. When a paste is created use your hands and knead until you end up with an elastic dough. It will take about 15 minutes. In order to test the dough, press it with your finger, if it bounces back it is ok.
Wrap the dough and allow to rest at cool room temperature for an hour, or in the fridge for longer. If you rest your dough in the fridge allow it to come to room temperature before rolling, it will need around 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and let’s start its transformation, by using a pasta cutter or a sharp knife.
By using your hands, press and flatten one piece of dough in order to be able to come through the rollers. Dust the rollers with some flour and feed the dough through the rollers. After rolling dust of excess flour and then fold the rolled dough into thirds. Lightly dust with more flour as needed, then feed the dough through again. Repeat this rolling and folding process once or twice more until the dough is smooth. Once smooth, stop folding and start increasing the roller settings one at a time until the desired thinness is achieved.
- Add a teaspoon on top of each sheet, leaving a distance around 3-4cm and cut into even pieces. Wrap each ravioli, sticking together the edges. If you find it hard to seal them use some drops of water. This way the dough will stick. Press with your fingers to thin the surface of the two sheets, until they are as thin as the sole of the ravioli. This will help ravioli to boil evenly. Be careful not to trap air in the ravioli. If there is air press from the folded point outward to remove excess air.
Towards the end
- In a pot boil water while preparing the sauce. When the water starts to boil, carefully add the ravioli and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
- Chop apaki into cubes and melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. After the first 5 minutes add the apaki and the leaves of sage.
- Stir for 2 minutes and then add 3 tablespoons of boiling water to the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the boiled ravioli directly from the pot in the pan.
- Add freshly grounded pepper and extra cheese. Carefully mix with a wooden spatula.
As every pasta post, this one too, wasn’t written in order just to share with you the recipe. I wrote it as an attempt to make you enter the magical world of fresh homemade pasta.
Don’t forget to give the necessary attention to the ingredients, listen to the needs of the dough and make it with love then we won’t talk only about pasta but for the ultimate experience.