i think we’re officially in that weird in-between stage where the weather can’t decide if it’s winter or spring. on sunday, i looked out the window several times and had the distinct impression that i was in a snow globe clutched tightly in the hands of a very zealous toddler. yesterday? record breaking high of 77. i suspect that the crocuses i saw poking out on saturday were happier yesterday than they were on sunday.
anyway, all of this is to say that it may not be the most conventional time to post a recipe for pumpkin ravioli sauce but… winter isn’t over yet AND pumpkin ravioli are delicious. in deference to spring though, here the ravioli ditch their typical heavy winter jacket of cream sauce and get a fresh update involving white beans, onions, garlic, dried cranberries, and other tasty little morsels.
if i’m being honest, i actually don’t like brown butter or cream sauces (heresy, i know) so i serve pumpkin or pumpkin ravioli like this all fall/winter/spring but for those of you who like normal things like butter and cream sauces, you may find this to be a new way to enjoy pumpkin ravioli.
the magic of this sauce comes from the bean liquid (aaaaand there go all of my normal butter and cream liking readers…), which creates a silky sauce that coats the ravioli. the idea came from a cook’s illustrated magazine article/recipe, i think for a beans and greens type of pasta, that i read awhile ago and apparently stored in my mind palace. the bean liquid magic trick works here too, happily. although perhaps the real magic comes from throwing a few ingredients, many of which you likely already have in your pantry, together into a fresh and quick dinner that looks much fancier and more complicated than it was to make. i won’t tell if you don’t.
ps – why yes, that is a custom ‘tasty seasons’ tea towel. thank you to my thoughtful friend janette and the talented folks at fiber and water (made in maine!) for this lovely gift!
- ~15 oz. (425 g.) pumpkin or butternut squash ravioli
- 1.25 oz. (34 g. / 1/4 cup) pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
- (1) 15.5 oz. can of low salt cannellini beans (see notes) and the liquid in the can (do not drain)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, adjust to taste
- ¾ teaspoon dried rubbed sage, adjust to taste
- 2 – 3 oz. baby spinach (that’s about half a box if you’re using the prewashed kind)
- 1 3/8 oz. (39 g. / 1/3 cup) dried cranberries
- 7/8 oz. (27 g. / ¼ cup) grated pecorino romano (can substitute romano or parmesan), plus additional for passing at the table
- 1 – 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, adjust to taste
- fill a large pot 2/3 full with water and set it over high heat to boil for the ravioli.
- heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. once the oil is hot, add the diced onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nearly soft. add the garlic and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant but not yet browning.
- add the beans and the liquid from the can, the crushed red pepper, and the sage; stir to combine. lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- at this point, your water should be boiling and the ravioli likely take 4 – 6 minutes to cook so add those to the water. follow package directions for exact cooking times.
- set a colander in the sink and put a heatproof measuring cup or mug in the colander to remind you to collect some of the ravioli cooking water before you drain the ravioli. (i forget every time if i don’t do this!)
- after the bean/onion mixture has simmered for 2 – 3 minutes, add the spinach, cranberries, pecorino romano, and vinegar. stir to combine everything and let it simmer the remaining 2 – 3 minutes while the ravioli finish cooking.
- grab your heat safe measuring cup or mug and save about ¾ – 1 cup of the ravioli cooking water before you drain the ravioli!
- drain ravioli then divide among shallow plates or bowls. stir the bean sauce and add ravioli cooking water in ¼ cup increments, if needed, to loosen the sauce. it’s not meant to be runny and watery, but it shouldn’t be dry and clumpy either. spoon sauce over each serving of ravioli.
- serve immediately, passing additional cheese at the table.
since we’re keeping the bean liquid here (rather than rinsing and draining the beans), i recommend seeking out cannellini beans with lower salt content (i usually use rienzi brand). if you can’t find cannellini beans, any white bean will work.
the nutrition facts are for the sauce only since the pumpkin ravioli will vary.