When I started this blog, besides wanting to share some easy and mostly healthy recipes with my friends and family I thought that one of the side effects would be providing
three people a look at our wacky eating habits. I didn’t expect that one of our neighbors would consider this the blue plate special. Nope, she doesn’t use it as a menu for that night’s dinner, more like, “Hmm, chocolate zucchini cake? Don’t mind if I do!” So Mademoiselle X, this one’s for you 😉 Seriously though, while this tastes great as a main course you could also sneak it into Thanksgiving dinner as a first course or a side dish too.
What’s not to like about sweetly savory sweet potato plumping up ravioli swimming in a spicy roasted red pepper sauce? Yeah, I can’t really see a downside either. Like most of my recipes, I try to pare down the fat and calories while retaining or even upping the flavor factor. For the sauce, instead of cream or half and half I’ve opted for cooked down vegetable broth and a dollop of low-fat sour cream which gives it a nice tang and helps to cut through the richness of all the starch. I’ve also switched out the more commonly used butter in the filling for low-fat ricotta (1/4 c low-fat ricotta has ~50 calories vs 1 tbsp butter which [shudder] has a little over 100 calories) and added a mixture of spices that remind me of a savory pumpkin pie. Gack, I know it sounds terrible but the spiced sweetly salty filling really goes well with the smoky, spicy sauce. And since I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of a place that makes fresh pasta daily, the lasagne has earthy, nutty chestnuts in it but plain ol’ egg pasta, herbed, or vegan semolina and water pasta would taste yummy too.
Good things to know:
1) While it’s tempting to stuff those ravioli with as much filling as possible, there’s a reason gluttony is a no-no. Unless you want gigantasaurus ravioli the size of your bowl, putting too much filling in will make it hard to seal the edges of the ravioli. Why is this bad? Cuz all the yummy filling will blurp out into your pasta water leaving you with sad, empty pasta sacks 😦
2) Make sure you push out any air in the ravioli pocket when sealing them so that there’s only filling inside otherwise the heat will make the air expand and [sploot] your filling will be in the pasta water.
Sweet Potato Ravioli
1 lb sweet potato, cut in half lengthwise
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c low-fat ricotta
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch allspice
1/4 +1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp (1 clove) crushed garlic
1 egg, beaten
4 sheets fresh lasagne (~1 lb) or 1 lb package wonton wrappers
Preheat oven to 400F.
Grease a baking pan with olive oil. Place sweet potato halves cut-side down in baking pan and roast till easily pierced with a fork ~25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool for ~10-5 minutes.
Scoop sweet potato flesh out of the skin with a spoon (you should yield ~1 1/2 c) and combine in a bowl with ricotta, nutmeg, allspice, salt, ground pepper, brown sugar, and garlic till it forms a thick paste. Chill in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
Lay lasagne sheets out on a cutting board or flat surface. Spoon 2 tsp of sweet potato filling on sheet at 1 to 1 1/2 inch apart till sheet is filled. Brush egg between in the empty spaces between the filling. Lay second sheet of lasagne on top and press down between the filling mounds to seal pushing out any air in the pocket as you seal. Using a sharp knife or ravioli cutter, cut along the empty spaces to make individual ravioli squares. Lather, rinse, repeat 😀 If you’re using wonton wrappers, fill the center of the wrapper with filling and fold over diagonally to make a triangle. Brush edges with egg and press to seal. Makes ~32 ravioli.
In a large ~3 quart pot boil 8-10 c of water and remaining 1 tsp salt. Boil ravioli till they are tender ~3 minutes. When they float up they’re usually done. When ravioli are cooked, simmer ravioli in sauce for 1 minute to coat with sauce. Serves 4.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1 tsp + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise
2 tsp (2 cloves) crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 c low-salt vegetable or chicken broth (I used Better Than Bouillon Mushroom Base)
1/4 tsp sweet (Hungarian) paprika
2 tbsp low-fat sour cream
2 tbsp shredded parmesan
In a roasting pan (I just use the same one I used for the sweet potato), lightly grease with 1 tsp olive oil and lay bell pepper cut end down on the pan. Broil on the highest oven rack till skin is blistered and starts to blacken ~5 minutes. Set aside till cool enough to handle ~15 minutes.
In a small ~1-2 quart saucepan heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté garlic till golden 1-2 minutes. Add salt and crushed red pepper and sauté for another minute. Add bell pepper, broth, and sweet paprika and simmer till volume is reduced by half ~10-5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor pulse sauce till smooth. Makes ~1 cup.