Pumpkin Ravioli with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Balsamic Drizzle

Pumpkin Ravioli 1/4
Pumpkin Ravioli with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce – recipe in post

“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” – Augusten Burroughs

I am made up of flaws. A compilation of failures and mistakes, and innumerable disappointments. My body is battered from all the leaps I’ve taken, hoping to fly…

But these scars that I have are mine. They trace the path that’s made me who I am. They’ve gotten me to where I am, and where I am is better than I could have ever hoped or dreamed. For all the moments I can look back on and regret, I can look forward with the confidence that I am better than I was, stronger than I was. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. No matter the outcome, it all starts with trying.

The other day, I asked The Fiancé, why do you love me? And he told me all of the reasons I care so much for him. At first I thought it was a joke… no, really, be serious… but he was. All those things I hold so highly, I have. All those strengths I wish were mine, I have. And all those flaws I accept in others, I have to accept in me, also.

I am made up of flaws –and I am okay with that.

It seems, sometimes, that I set rather high expectations for myself. I plot, and I plan, and I try with everything I have – and sometimes (often times) I fail. I’m hard on myself. I gave it all I had, how could it have not worked out? But I learn from these experiences, also – what did I do wrong, what could go differently? – and I try, try again. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and my goal for this week is to be more forgiving, and give myself more credit for the things I do right. Because sometimes, I do succeed. Sometimes I try, and things turn out exactly as I’d hoped. 

“Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” – Neil Gaiman

This ravioli falls into the ‘success’ category. I’ve never had a dish quite like it, but once the idea was in my head I knew exactly what I wanted it to be. The transition from my mind’s eye to reality was almost effortless, and the plate came together exactly as I’d pictured. The flavors I’d imagined were there, all working together in tandem. 

Pasta Making

With all of the pumpkin desserts I’ve been making, I thought it was about time I feature a recipe that uses this incredible squash in a savory application. This ravioli is now a new favorite of mine – warm with the scent of toasted hazelnuts, the mingling flavors of rosemary and sage; the perfect balance of flavors, all complimenting one another, in harmony. Sweet and savory hand-in-hand.

Pumpkin Ravioli 4/4 

Don’t be discouraged by the lengthy instructions – this dish is really quite simple to prepare, there are just a few steps in making your own pasta. To make it extra easy, go ahead and make your ravioli ahead and freeze them until you’re ready. Making this dish for just the two of us, I have plenty of extra waiting to be boiled for a quick week-night meal.

Recipe notes: Because this is on the sweeter side of savory, I chose to make the pasta whole wheat, for a little depth of flavor. If you decide to make your pasta entirely with all-purpose flour, keep in mind that it will need less moisture in the dough and will also cook more quickly. 
For the pumpkin filling, I highly recommend using home-made pumpkin puree. It’s incredibly easy to make, and will change the flavor considerably. Click here for a how-to on simple pumpkin puree. Alternatively, the pumpkin could be replaced with other pureed squash, like butternut or acorn.
The use of balsamic vinegar in this recipe was inspired by my friend Foodie Stuntman’s pumpkin gnocchi (click for recipe). Balsamic and pumpkin pair very well together, indeed!

Pumpkin Ravioli with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce
Vegetarian ~ Makes about 4 dozen ravioli

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
5-10 TBSP water, as needed

1 1/2 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree (make your own, here)
1 cup ricotta cheese
3-4 leaves fresh sage, minced (about 2 tsp.)
1-2 sprigs rosemary, stripped and minced (about 2 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup hazelnuts
8 TBSP (1 stick, or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1-2 TBSP good quality balsamic vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano, for topping


In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt, if using. Make a well in the center, and crack the eggs into it. Using your fingers, stir the eggs around to break up the yolks. Begin incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl until the mixture begins to come together and look dry. Add water 1 TBSP at a time, kneading and mixing as you go, until the dough is soft but not sticky. If the dough becomes sticky or loose, add a pinch more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted counter top and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water. Once the dough has a fairly smooth surface, shape it into a ball and place it in a lightly floured bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Make ahead tip: At this point, your pasta is ready to roll. Or, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.

Meanwhile, make your filling. If your pumpkin puree is particularly wet, place it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until some of the moisture has evaporated.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Set aside.

To assemble
Divide your dough ball into quarters, and work with one fourth at a time. Keep the rest of your dough covered to prevent it from drying out. Roll your pasta with a pasta machine according to manufacturer’s instructions (generally starting at the widest setting, then rolling thinner and thinner) to the thinnest or second-thinnest setting. You want the pasta thin, but not in danger of tearing. 
If you’re rolling the dough by hand, be prepared to use a lot of elbow grease.The dough will have the tendency to pull back after being rolled out – if it becomes too difficult to work with, let it rest (covered by a damp towel) for 5-10 minutes before continuing.
Once you have a long sheet of pasta, spoon half-teaspoon sized dollops of filling in a row along one side of the sheet, about 1/2-1 inch apart. When it comes to filling ravioli, less is more. 
Lightly brush the edges of the pasta, and in between your dollops of filling, with water. Fold the sheet of pasta lengthwise over the fillings, and press down around each one. Be sure to press out any air bubbles, and seal the dough tightly. Cut out your ravioli with a press, pastry cutter, or a pizza wheel. If you’d like you can go around the edges of each with the tines of a fork to help seal the dough.
Make ahead tip: At this point  your ravioli is ready to be cooked and served, or you can toss them in a bit of flour, place in a zip-top bag, and freeze for later.

The Sauce
Preheat the oven to 350f.
Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 8-12 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Give them a shake or stir every few minutes to keep them from burning.
Dump the hot hazelnuts into the center of a clean dish towel, and bring the edges of the towel up around them. Rub the hazelnuts together inside the towel to remove their dark, bitter skins. Sift the nuts out of the towel and give them a rough chop. Set aside.
In a pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped hazelnuts, and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns a rich golden-brown. Be careful not to burn the butter! Immediately turn off the heat once the butter has browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Boiling the pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop 8-10 ravioli at a time, and cook for 2-5 minutes, or until al-dente (time will vary depending on how thin your pasta is and the size of your ravioli). Remove finished ravioli with a slotted spoon and drain off any excess water. Repeat with the remaining pasta, then add the ravioli to the pan with the browned butter. Toss to coat, and drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan.

Pumpkin Ravioli 2/4

51 thoughts on “Pumpkin Ravioli with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Balsamic Drizzle

  1. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

    YOU Willow are amazing and don’t ever forget that! This is such a beautiful combination of flavors – I was head over heels in love the minute I saw it pinned up – and the composition, amazing!

    Question – did you use a ravioli press or stamp, yours are so pretty!!

    1. Willow

      Thank you, Heather! I can definitely see my photography improving, and this is a step in the right direction. Baby steps, but still steps. :)

      I used a pastry cutter – like a little double-wheeled pizza cutter. It has one straight wheel, and one kind of wavy wheel for cutting edges like that. I meant to go around and press grooves into the edges with a fork, but totally forgot until I was done photographing. Doh!

    2. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

      I feel the same way about my photography and blog in general- it has been so much fun looking back from where I was about 2 years ago and how I have grown , I never thought food photography would become such a passion for me- I will tell you, I have always been a HUGE fan & admirer of you, your photos and kitchen creativity ever since I found you!

      …I think your ravioli are perfect just as they are :)

    3. Willow

      *Blushes* – thanks! I’m so glad you did find me, too. When I was first starting out I hadn’t even begun to think of befriending other foodies. It’s been so great see us both learning and growing!

    1. Willow

      Making your own pasta definitely takes a little time… it’s so easy if you do it one afternoon and then freeze it, though. Then when you want to eat, you just toast the hazelnuts and make the sauce while the noodles boil. Homemade pasta is so worth the extra step, though! :)

  2. Abby

    Beautiful, in every way! Your words are like magic I swear they just reach out and touch whoever’s reading them. And you make some crazy good pasta! :)

    1. Willow

      Thanks! Glad to have you as a reader. Homemade pasta is definitely more challenging without a pasta machine… I’ve done it before, but it’s definitely a workout.

  3. Erin

    I think this may be the first time I’ve stumbled upon your blog (yay pinterest) but I just had to say that the photos in this post are just gorgeous (and the recipe sounds wonderful too!)

  4. Jennifer B

    This looks incredible! Do you think the recipe would still work if I used only whole-wheat flour (no all-purpose flour)? Hoping to skip the refined grains but would love to make this as my first attempt at homemade pasta :)

    1. Willow

      It should work fine – I’ve never made 100% whole wheat flour, but I’ve seen it done all the time. You may have to add more water. Just add a little water at a time, kneading in between additions, until the dough seems workable. If it becomes sticky, you can set it aside to rest for 5-10 minutes (whole wheat will absorb moisture a little more slowly than regular flour) and if it’s still too wet, add a bit more flour until it feels right.
      Good luck!

  5. Courtney J

    This is one stunning blog post Willow :) Amazing photography, a wonderful recipe and a really sincere commentary. I’m hard on myself too. I am definitely the one standing in my way most of the time. It’s tough to overcome. But you, missy, are insanely talented. Don’t ever doubt that! :) xoxo

    1. Willow

      Thank you, Courtney! That’s the thing, though – I think we are all insanely talented, we just have this blind spot for seeing it. You, my friend, are amazing!

  6. Ritroviamoci in Cucina

    Ciao, do you still remember me?
    I had to stay away from my blog the past few months and I really miss your beautiful posts, but I’m recovering watching them all :o)
    But I understand you correctly, you’re engaged?
    If so, best wishes for all.

    PS You prepare ravioli as a real Italian housewife!

    1. Willow

      Thanks, Valentina! Yes, I am engaged, and very happily. So glad to hear you’re blogging again, I look forward to reading more of your wonderful posts!

  7. Loretta E.

    Absolutely beautiful! I just discovered you via Iowa Girl Eats and I adore what I see so far! I also just got my hands on the KitchenAid pasta attachment. Your timing is impeccable.

  8. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

    Just discovered your blog (thanks to the foodbuzz top 9!). This recipe sounds amazing– my mouth is watering at the combination of pumpkin ravioli and hazelnuts– and I never would have thought to add the drizzle of balsamic, but I bet it rounds out all of the flavors nicely. Absolutely gorgeous photos, too! Wow.

    1. Willow

      Haha, sure! There are store-bought alternatives that I hear work well for ravioli, like wonton wrappers. Or you could cook up some shells and stuff them with filling, then drizzle the sauce over. Shouldn’t be too hard to do it ‘semi-homemade’ ;)

  9. Anonymous

    Do you use whole wheat pastry flour? I like it for pasta, but wonder if a coarser grain is a better texture. Making this Sunday with butternut squash.

    1. Willow

      I haven’t experimented enough with whole wheat flour to say which is better – I used regular 100% whole wheat flour, and thought it worked fine (besides making for a slightly longer cooking time). I’d say use what you like, or what you have.

      Hope you like the ravioli!

  10. likethistrythat

    This looks so good, love pumpkin ravioli. Homemade pasta is so worth the time, nothing like it. I remember as a child my Grandmother would have pasta drying everywhere…even draped over the backs of the kitchen chairs.
    I’m adding this to my Best of the Weekend post on Monday that features interesting pumpkin recipes :)

    1. Willow

      What a rich memory to have! I didn’t discover homemade pasta until my late teens when I decided to try my hand at it. Thanks for including me, I look forward to see your pumpkin round-up!

  11. McKay

    I took the time to make this recipe. I was really excited about it, but knew it would be challenging. I didn’t realize HOW challenging, though. This took me about five hours to make. I did not have a pasta machine and rolled the dough by hand. I know that I will never EVER make home made pasta again, unless I have a pasta machine.
    I apparently made the dough too thick because the ravioli were huge. They wouldn’t cook, so I had to leave them in the water for an extremely long time.
    Once they were cooked, I tossed them in the butter sauce and we proceeded to eat them.

    I was really disappointed. I’m not a health nut, so I probably should have used all regular flour instead of whole wheat. The whole wheat gave it kind of a gummy, skin-like consistency.
    I was also disappointed with how bland mine turned out. The pumpkin filling wasn’t sweet, like I wanted it to be.
    Although, the balsamic vinegar with the brown butter sauce was genius. The Parmesan cheese was wonderful thrown in there, too.

    Because I was so disappointed (and I had a lot of filling left) I did some research about home made ravioli. I had no idea it was such an impossible task. And since I went into it thinking I could totally handle the recipe, I’m sure that’s why I was so displeased. Maybe if I made it again over a span of two days, it might turn out better for me.

    During my research, I discovered the use of wonton wrappers for quick ravioli. They aren’t PERFECT, but pretty good. And much much much faster than home made. I used the leftover filling, added some brown sugar to sweeten it up, and made tortellini with the wonton wrappers.

    I still followed the second half of the recipe and used the butter sauce, Parmesan, and balsamic vinegar. It was great!

    Despite all of my troubles, I’m really glad I tried this recipe. I figured out how difficult it is to make real pasta, that I don’t like whole wheat pasta, and that I can use the base recipe and tweak it to make something tailored just for me!

    Thanks for your hard work on this dish and your blog, I really enjoy going through it. I wish I could have tried YOUR pasta, to see just how different it was from my original pasta. I’m sure I’ll revisit this recipe and see if I can do better. :)

    1. Willow

      McKay, thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad to hear you still enjoy the blog even though you didn’t have the best experience with this dish.

      I’m sorry you had such a rough time making the pasta… believe it or not, I’ve been there! The very first time I made ravioli from scratch I did it by hand, and boy what a work out! Definitely time consuming, too. I suspect you might like the pasta with the whole wheat flour more if it were rolled a little thinner… the textural difference is much less noticeable.
      Also, I’m a little surprised your filling wasn’t sweet enough. Mine was very sweet, and verging on *too* sweet! I suppose that will vary depending on the pumpkin puree.

      I’m glad you persevered through all that and adapted the recipe to your liking anyway. I’ve heard a lot of people say wanton wrappers make great ravioli, but I haven’t tried them myself. Will definitely have to give that a go the next time I don’t feel like breaking out the pasta machine! :D


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