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Gail Simmons's Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

Gail Simmons's Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce | Lonny.com
(All ph. © Melissa Hom/Lonny)

Seeking out the perfect fall kick-off—one that doesn't include tailgating and dollar wings? Then look no further than this elegant pumpkin ravioli recipe, a seasonal staple by Top Chef judge and Talking with My Mouth Full author Gail Simmons. "I've definitely had versions of this dish out there, but I wanted to do my own version that pared down the fussiness of it," says the celebrated television personality, who, when she's not jetting around the country in search of the restaurant industry's next big name, serves as Food + Wine magazine's Special Projects Director. "There's a deeply nutty flavor from the pumpkin, a caramel flavor from the brown butter, and a lot of bright flavors from the lemon zest and juice. It's homey and comforting, but it's also really balanced; it's a little bit decadent but not so much that you feel guilty afterward."

Gail Simmons's Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce | Lonny.com

I'm not generally known for my prowess in the kitchen, but when Simmons invited me to help create the dish alongside her I couldn't resist. After all, how often do you have the chance to get your cooking vetted by a pro? When I heard that we'd be making pumpkin ravioli, I was expecting a high-maintenance endeavor; what I got was a no-fuss preparation that's at home at both a weeknight family dinner and a festive weekend gathering—one that can be customized depending on whatever's in your refrigerator.

"I never make the same thing twice," says Simmons, who recently partnered with California-based Estancia Wines on a series of recipes and lifestyle tips in keeping with the brand's artisanal varietals. "Sometimes I'll try it with orange juice instead of lemon juice, I'll make it with tarragon instead of the sage—I twist it until I find the perfect combination," she says. Here, she even uses egg roll wrappers instead of homemade pasta to cut down on prep time. Having tasted the finished product myself, I can tell you that—no matter what combination you choose—it can't get much better than this. Try the recipe out for yourself and let us know if you agree @Lonnymag.

Gail Simmons's Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce | Lonny.com

Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce, Sage, and Hazelnuts
Serves 4-6

-- 1 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
-- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
-- 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
-- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
-- 6 stems fresh sage, leaves only
-- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
-- 4-6 turns freshly ground black pepper
-- 1 cup heavy cream
-- 2 eggs, beaten
-- 1 teaspoon orange zest
-- 48 egg roll wrappers
-- 2-3 tablespoons flour
-- ½ cup hazelnuts toasted and roughly chopped
-- ½ cup finely shaved Parmesan

-- 2 sticks unsalted butter
-- 2 tablespoons finely sliced sage
-- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
-- 6-8 turns freshly ground black pepper
-- 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Gail Simmons's Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce | Lonny.com

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread pumpkin, garlic, and shallot evenly on a roasting tray. Sprinkle thyme and sage over the top. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until pumpkin is soft and shallots are slightly caramelized at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, scrape into a food processor, and add cream, eggs, and orange zest. Puree until smooth and set aside to cool.

2. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter—or the lip of a drinking glass—cut circles out of each egg roll wrapper. Lay 24 circles on a lightly floured surface and top each with about a teaspoon of pumpkin filling. Using a pastry brush lightly wet the perimeter of each circle with water, place another round on top and lightly press around the edges to seal. Work your way around the filling gently to squeeze out any air bubbles.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil as you prepare the sauce. Place the butter and sage in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan as it heats so the sage cooks evenly and the butter melts. Cook, swirling occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the butter starts to turn golden, develops brown bits, and smells rich and nutty. Season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of lemon juice.

4. When water is boiling, cook the ravioli for 4-5 minutes until the wrappers become just opaque. Drain ravioli in batches and toss in brown butter sauce. Divide ravioli onto plates or shallow bowls and spoon more brown butter sauce over the top. Garnish each plate with chopped hazelnuts, a big pinch of lemon zest and shaved fresh Parmesan. Serve paired with Estancia Monterey County Chardonnay.

Gail Simmons's Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce | Lonny.com
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