Pumpkin and Cheese Ravioli

Looking back on 2016, there is a lot I am thankful for. I have met and made some incredible new friends, I have reacquainted with friends I had lost touch with over the years, I have learned a lot, not just professionally but about my self too. Not all lessons were easy and it has also been an emotional roller coaster a lot of the time. 

In light of all the sad news that have also accompanied this last year it has become more and more important to me to spend as much time as I can with my closest friends and seek comfort in their company and 'our own little universe'. A couple of dear friends of mine came to visit us in our country home over new years, we had a campfire outside keeping us warm, while their kids grilled marshmallows over the fire and the grown-ups sipped on mulled wine. 

On the first day of the new year we decided to make some pasta from scratch, the kids really enjoyed it, vigorously turning the handle of the pasta machine or putting the filling into the ravioli. Their eyes were shining with pride and joy when we sat down to dinner. In moments like this it feels like everything's good in the world. I guess my new years resolution is to keep nourishing my 'little universe' and hope the love will spread from there. 

The recipe for these delicious ravioli is really simple, all you need is some time and maybe some friends that will lend some hands. 


For the pasta dough

  • 600g flour (type 00)

  • 6 eggs

  • 1tbsp olive oil

  • water

  • pinch of salt

For the pumpkin filling

  • 500g hokkaido pumpkin

  • handful of rosemary sprigs

  • 80g parmesan, grated

  • salt, pepper

  • olive oil

For the cheese filling

  • 50g feta cheese

  • 50g parmesan, grated

  • 50g mature cheese, grated 

  • 1 egg

  • salt, pepper, nutmeg


1. Mix the flour, eggs, salt and olive oil. Knead until dough roughly comes together, transfer to a lightly floured surface. 

2. If the dough is too crumbly add a tbsp of water (always one at a time) and keep kneading for 10minutes until the dough becomes shiny and stretchy. 

3. Cover and rest in a cool place/fridge for about an hour. 

4. For the pumpkin filling preheat the oven to 210°C top/bottom heat. Cut the pumpkin in 1-2cm thick wedges, place on a baking tray, pick the rosemary from the sprigs and together with 2-3tbsp olive oil mix with the pumpkin slices, add salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven until soft and golden, roughly 20minutes. 

5. Once the pumpkin is done, using a blender, purée the rosemary pumpkin slices with the grated parmesan and add some salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. 

6. For the cheese filling, roughly grate or crumble the cheeses, add the egg and blend until you have a smooth mixture. Add some salt and pepper to taste. 

7. Divide the dough in smaller portions, lightly flour each portion, and either using a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll out the dough 1-2mm thin. Always make sure it is lightly floured so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin or the pasta machine.

8. Place one strip of rolled out dough on a lightly floured surface. Make little shapes on the dough with a ravioli shaper or a glass, so you know where to place the filling, but don't cut out the dough yet. 

9. Place a tsp of filling into the middle of the ravioli shape, leaving a 1.5-2cm empty rim. Brush on some water around the edges of the filling, now take a second piece of rolled out dough and place on top of the other, trying to get as little air bubbles within the ravioli as possible. 

10. With a sharp knife prick very little wholes in the dough where you can spot air bubbles in the ravioli and lightly press out the air. Then, using the ravioli shaper or a glass, cut out the ravioli and put them on a floured tray.

11. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, then turn down the heat, so the water only very lightly simmers and let the raviolis cook for about 3-4minutes, they will float on top as soon as they are ready, take them out and serve immediately. 

12. I usually eat them sprinkled with a little bit of brown butter, good olive oil and some parmesan. This time I had some gravy left over and made a quick gravy cream sauce and added some sautéed kale. 

To a peaceful 2017. 

Homemade Pasta and a Weekend in the Country

Last weekend we spent a night in the "Brandenburger" countryside. About an hour outside of Berlin we have been refurbishing an old farmstead with a couple of friends. 

As often as we can - which lately unfortunately has been rather rare - we drive out there working on the renovations of our part of the house or helping out in the garden. Or sometimes we just trade in all the hustle and bustle of the city for a few days of peace and quiet. Listening to birds chirping whilst rocking myself to sleep in the hammock...Mmhh..Sounds decadent? Yeah I know.. It is :-)

The farmstead was built some time at the beginning of the 20th century. We were told that with the area being part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during the division of Germany the farm was annexed and it became part of the communist collectivization endeavor. It has been vacant for a couple of years and was never fully restored, which leaves us with a lot of work but also with a lot of room for interpretation. 

Even though everybody talks about what is commonly referred to as 'Landflucht' (flight from the land and migration into the cities) I am surprised how many young people actually prove the contrary, seeking a quiet (mostly second) home in country, realigning with things like self-sufficiency, growing your own vegetables and reducing daily tasks back to a more basic, essential level. From my own experience a lot of people are seeking something like that to balance out the information overflow to which they are exposed in their urban day-to-day activities. At least I do.  And for me (and my dog as you might be able to tell from the pictures), this mixture of urban and rural life really works. 

But now back to the important stuff: food, glorious, food! After all, this is why I am here - and you, too, I suppose? Not only did I spent my weekend reclined in an armchair, I was also well fed by my dear friends who started this whole country-living-potato-growing-rhubarb-picking-wood-chopping-adventure. While my friend who is an extremely talented and passionate foodie (both on the production and of course the consumption side) was making spelt pasta I was jumping and buzzing around her with my camera, climbing on rickety furniture to get some shots and share this delicious dinner with you. 

Spelt Tagliatelle

Depending on how much you wanna make, you can roughly assume that on 100 g of flour you need 1 egg. In our case we had four empty bellies to cram which estimated to the following: 

  • 700 g of flour
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed
  • pasta machine with tagliatelle attachment (e.g. Imperia or Marcato are both Italian high standard machines)
  • pasta drying rack (you can easily improvise this by using a laundry rack or even stretching a cord between two kitchen cupboard handles)

The procedure is pretty straight forward. Your main concern should be your muscles as this involves a lot of kneading. 

1. Mix the flour with the salt and add the eggs. Roughly combine everything in the bowl using a spoon or your hands. Add the olive oil and continue kneading. 

2. Move your dough to a clean surface and start working it with all the strength you have. If it seems too crumbly add a little water to make it smooth. It should not be sticky - if it does get a little to wet add a pinch of flour. Yeah, I know where this is going, but trust me, if you do this a couple of times you'll get a sense of how it works. Continue kneading until your dough is soft and flexible. Cover with cling foil and let it rest for 30 - 60 minutes. 

3. Now we continue with the fun part. On a floured surface take little pieces of your dough, slightly flatten them whilst making sure they are well dusted with flour. Put your pasta machine on the lowest dial and continue rolling the dough through the machine each time adjusting the dial to a smaller size. In-between rolling dust with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your machine.  

4. Now feed your well-floured stripes of dough through the tagliatelle attachment of the machine, using one hand to guide the dough and the other to gently pick up the emerging tagliatelle. 

5. Place your pasta on a drying rack. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and generously add salt. When the water is ready quickly add all your pasta. Let simmer for 4 - 6 minutes (depending on whether you like your pasta al dente or well-done). 

Serve with some pesto or homemade tomato sauce. And most importantly, it's best enjoyed amidst your friends and loved ones. I was lucky enough to have both at my disposal :-)