Get busy in the kitchen this autumn with our seasonal ricotta recipe
Autumn - The season where the outside world makes its preparations for winter, we prepare ourselves for the colder months and the atmosphere becomes cosier. There is a much greater need for winter warmer dishes in the upcoming months and what is better than coming in from the blustering wind and rain to homemade comfort foods that warm up the heart and soul?
The Science Behind Comfort foods
Cravings are most commonly associated with foods high in fat such as chocolate, fries, fast foods etc. But comfort foods provide a temporary sense of wellbeing, they make us feel good and happy. In fact, according to Psychology Today, the same pleasure centre in the brain, that is active during substance use, is active when comfort foods are consumed. To us, comfort foods are warm hearty meals such as Sunday roasts, stews, hot seasonal vegetable soups and tasty apple crumble, they are like a blanket for the belly, they make a person feel warm and happy especially in these colder autumn months.
Using seasonal vegetables in your autumn cooking
Seasonal fruit and vegetables have a maximised flavour as they are harvested at the very best time, they come from a short distance, therefore do not spoil on their way to shops and have a reduced carbon footprint as they use less fuel in their travelling time.
Apples and Blackberrys are currently ready to be picked before they fall to the ground and are at their freshest in autumn. Why not take some time to forage apples and blackberries locally and create a beautiful apple and blackberry crumble, a classic comfort food dish with locally picked fruit? Growing and picking your own fruit provides you with organic produce and has a positive impact on the environment by having no carbon footprint.
A seasonal vegetable you are more likely to use in your autumn cooking is the pumpkin, they are at their best at this time of year, and have many impressive health benefits.
Pumpkins are highly nutritious and packed full with Vitamin A, which is good for your skin, bones and vision. Pumpkins are also very low in fat and have a low calorie count as they are 94% water, therefore they are perfect for cooking guilt free comfort dishes with.
This winter warmer pasta dish combines seasonal pumpkin and our Yorkshire Dama ricotta cheese, perfectly comforting for this time of year, we think you will love it!
Pumpkin and ricotta ravioli
For the pasta-
255g all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Teaspoon water
For the Filling-
150g pumpkin puree
20g Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
85g unsalted butter
16 fresh sage leaves
Parmesan cheese grated or shaved
For the pasta-
1. On a clean dry surface, make the flour into a mound and make a well in the centre around 8 inches wide. Crack all of your eggs into the well, along with the olive oil, salt and water.
2. Using your hands to keep your flour mound intact, beat the egg mixture in the centre, taking precaution to not make a mess and let it spill out of the well.
3. Once the mixture is not as runny, use your hands to bring it together and combine the mixture, continue to begin kneading.
4. Using the heel of your palm, knead for around 5-10 minutes, the texture should be elastic yet smooth.
5. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 1hour.
For the filling-
1. Dice the flesh of the pumpkin and begin to cook in boiling water for around 10 minutes, once boiled allow to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together Yorkshire Dama Ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper and nutmeg. Once the pumpkin is cooled, mash and combine with the ricotta mixture, and set this aside.
3. Bring a large pan of salt water to simmer.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into four equal sections. Dust your work surface with flour.
5. Using an electric or hand pasta machine, pass the dough through it 2-3 times until you achieve ⅛” thickness, you should be able to see your hand through the pasta. If you do not have a pasta machine to roll out your dough, there are many tutorials on youtube of how to roll out your pasta by hand.
6. Place your rolled dough onto the floured work surface and brush half with egg wash.
7. Spoon out the Yorkshire Dama Ricotta and pumpkin filling 2 inches apart on the egg washed half of the dough, carefully fold over the other half of the dough.
8. With your fingers carefully press out air around each mound of filling, and continue to cut the ravioli into any shape you like.
9. In a medium sized saucepan melt butter on a low heat.
10. Add the ravioli into the simmering water until they rise to the top of the water, boil for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the water and place on a towel.
11. While the ravioli cooks, turn the butter to a medium heat and add sage leaves, cook until crispy and until the butter turns brown, place leaves on a paper towel.
12. Add the ravioli to a pasta bowl and top with the butter and sage leaves, shaved parmesan and a side of marinara sauce.