Ravioli with Roasted Pumpkin and Sage

Pumpkin isn’t just for pies. This autumn, roast sugar pumpkin for this savory Ravioli with Roasted Pumpkin and Sage recipe — a delicious fall dinner.

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On a chilly Saturday morning two weeks ago, I wandered the busy Orono Farmers Market with my two kids. Though it was still technically summer, it felt decidedly like fall. Will, 9, carried the bulging canvas bags filled with most of our purchases. Paige, 6, hauled the jug of apple cider. We’d bought corn, tomatoes, plums, shaved beef, chicken and much more to create dinners for a week.

That’s one of the things I love about the farmers markets I’ve visited here in Maine: we can practically do all of our grocery shopping there, choosing humanely raised meats, organic fruits and veggies and locally made dairy products.

We were done shopping, though I was still browsing — looking for that last purchase that would make the trip feel complete. Just before we headed to the car, I spotted it: a lone sugar pumpkin at one of the stands. I’d been wondering when pumpkins would appear at the market. Grabbing the gourd, I quickly paid, declaring that I just needed it.

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This wasn’t a pumpkin for carving, and I had no plans to bake it into a pie. No, the small irregularly shaped orange globe conjured visions of dinner — something comforting and full of fall flavor. For this gourd, I envisioned a warm bowl of ravioli teeming with sweet roasted pumpkin with a hint of butter and earthy sage. It’s hearty, but not heavy — a good combination for the unusual days of fall when warm days and cold days come one after another.

And so it was.

BDN Illustration by Eric Zelz

 

From whoopie pies to donuts, muffins to pie, pumpkin is everywhere these days. Autumn ushers in the landscape of pumpkin spice lattes (which don’t actually have any pumpkin in them), pastries and so much more. But Halloween’s favorite gourd isn’t just for sweets … it’s also delicious in savory dishes like this too.

We’re used to using acorn and butternut squashes for pastas, soups and more. But pumpkin? It’s often the forgotten edible gourd, more frequently used for jack o’lanterns and pies than dinners. Keep an eye out for it at the farmers markets and grocery stores — pumpkins are a delicious addition to dinners.

Cooking with Pumpkin

To roast cubed pumpkin, first you have to prepare it. Start by slicing the end from the pumpkin and then peeling it. Then, use a sharp knife to remove the stem and cut the pumpkin in half. You’ll want to scoop out all the stringy innards, including the seeds (hint: clean the seeds, dry them and roast them in the oven with a little oil, salt and pepper for a delicious snack!). Finally, slice and cube the pumpkin.

Roasting it is simple — just toss with oil, salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Cook it in a 375-degree oven, stirring and flipping once, for about 30 minutes.

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Have you cooked dinner with pumpkin? What do you make with it?

BDN Illustration by Eric Zelz

Ravioli with Roasted Pumpkin and Sage
serves 4

2 cups cubed sugar pumpkin (about 1/2 pumpkin, peeled and innards removed)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
12 oz package cheese ravioli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, small diced (about 2/3 cup)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil. Toss the cubed pumpkin with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, stir and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Drain, reserving one ladle of water.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown — about 10 minutes. Add the butter and sage and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, until the butter is melted and the sage is wilted. Add the ladle of water from the pasta pot and stir well. Add the pasta and pumpkin and toss to coat.

Serve immediately. If desired, add a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.