This year marks the 10 year birthday of my KitchenAid stand mixer! I was a strange child and instead of asking my parents for a car for my 16th birthday, I asked them for a stand mixer. It's been put to excellent use over the past 10 years and to celebrate its (and my) birthday, my parents gave me the pasta making set complete with ravioli maker. I was dying to put this set to use and finally got to this past weekend.
On Saturday morning, I dragged the Lion to the Green City Market to peruse the wonderful mix of fresh produce and baked goods. He mentioned that a good use for the new pasta maker would be butternut squash ravioli, and while we searched for (very) early season butternut squash we stumbled upon some gorgeous sweet potatoes that still had dirt clinging to them and our plans quickly changed to sweet potato ravioli.
My first thought was, of course, a classic brown butter sauce with sage leaves and walnuts. But as we're both trying to eat a bit healthier, the Lion challenged me to come up with something more creative. It took a little bit of head scratching but I decided that if I spiced up the sweet potato filling with some chipotle, I could make a similarly spicy and sweet sauce for the ravioli hence the mushroom, onion, and ancho chili sauce. Completely delicious and relatively guilt free!
A few words about the pasta set...My feelings about the kitchen aid pasta roller and ravioli maker can be summed up in two words: absolutely amazing! The pasta rolled out incredibly easily--in less than 2 minutes I rolled out a lump of dough about the size of a tennis ball into beautiful sheet of fresh pasta so thin that I could see my fingers through it when I held it up. The ravioli maker was equally amazing and easy to use. The raviolis filled beautifully and sealed perfectly and it was fun to boot! I highly recommend these attachments if you already have the stand mixer. They make fresh pasta and ravioli totally accessible! Thanks Mom and Dad!
Serves 4-6, with plenty of extra ravioli to freeze for later
Pasta dough recipe adapted from KitchenAid booklet
For the Sweet Potato Filling:
3 lbs. sweet potato
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1-2 tsp. ground chipotle chilis
1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 grinds of black pepper
Salt to taste
For the Pasta:
3 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2-8 Tbsp. water
For the Sauce:
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 dried ancho chili
2 small onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 tsp. dried epazote (optional)
1 tsp. packed lime zest
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Salt to taste
Make the Sweet Potato Filling:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Toss with oil, 1 tsp. of the ground chipotle chilis, salt, and pepper. Place in 1 layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. Check at the 30 minute mark to see if a the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork and give to slight pressure, if not continue to cook until they are.
Once the sweet potatoes are fully cooked, remove them from the onion, and mash the potatoes using a potato ricer. Once all the potatoes are mashed, taste, and add brown sugar, chipotle, and salt to taste. Remember that the filling will be encased in pasta, so it's okay to make it a little spicier than you would normally like as the pasta will be a bland casing to the filling. Once you're satisfied with the flavor, set in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Make the Pasta Dough:
Place the flour, eggs, salt, and 2 Tbsp. of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the flat paddle until the mixture is well combined and looks shaggy. Scrape the mixture with a spatula to ensure that there are no wet and sticky patches stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Stir again. Switch to the dough hook, and mix until the dough holds together in loose balls about the size of golf balls. If the dough is crumbly and in small pieces add more water. If the dough is slack, add more flour. The dough should be relatively tough compared to bread dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for a few minutes. The dough will be tough to knead, but persist until the dough is smooth. Wrap it up in some plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter for 20-30 minutes.
Make the Ravioli:
Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Wrap up whatever pieces you are not actively working with in plastic wrap so it does not dry out. Flatten one of the pieces until it is a little less than 1 cm. thick. If using a stand mixer attachment, attach the flat roller to the machine at the widest setting. Feed the dough through the roller. Fold in half width-wise (like a hamburger, not a hot dog) and feed in the folded end once again. Repeat several times until the pasta is the width of the roller. This will be the last time you fold the pasta prior to feeding it into the machine. Decrease the width of the roller by one notch. Feed the dough through twice. Repeat this step until you are at width setting 5, or about 2-3 notches from the thinnest setting.
If using the ravioli maker for the stand mixer, place the maker in the stand mixer. Fold the rolled out pasta carefully in half and feed the folded end into the ravioli maker. Turn the crank one half turn and lay the pasta out over the two half of the maker. Place the plastic hopper on top and fill it with two spoonfuls of filling, pressing down to distribute it to all corners. Turn the crank until the filling is nearly empty and repeat until the end of the pasta sheet is reached. Lay out and allow to dry for 10 minutes before separating pieces. Repeat all the steps with the remaining pieces of dough. If using a ravioli press, lay out the pasta sheet over the press, gently depressing it into the hollows. Fill with small spoonfuls of the sweet potato filling. Drape the second sheet over and seal appropriately.
If there are extra ravioli that won't be used for this dish, leave out to dry for 30 minutes, toss with some flour and place in a ziploc bag and freeze until next use. For the remaining ravioli that will be cooked, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Carefully drop in the ravioli and boil for 5-7 minutes until al dente.
Make the Sauce:
Using your fingers or a kitchen shear, remove the stem from the ancho chili and tear it in half down the middle, removing all the seeds. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 5-10 minutes until the chili is softened. Remove from the water, squeeze to drain, and finely mince. Set aside and reserve the chili water.
Heat the canola oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place the onions in the pan and stir until well coated with oil. Add a pinch of salt and stir again. Cover, and sweat the onions, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add the garlic and minced ancho chili to the pan and continue to cook until aromatic. Add the epazote and stir. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their fluid. If the pan seems too dry add in spoonfuls of the reserved chili water. Add salt to taste. When finished cooking, stir in lime zest. Spoon the sauce on top of the ravioli and serve. Enjoy!
Suggested cooking order:
1. Bake the sweet potatoes. Meanwhile...
2. Make the pasta dough and let it rest. Meanwhile...
3. Mash the sweet potatoes and place in the fridge. Meanwhile...
4. Roll out the first piece of pasta.
5. Make first batch of ravioli.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5
7. Bring pot of water to boil. Meanwhile...
8. Make the sauce and separate the ravioli.
9. Cook the ravioli and finish the sauce.