Pumpkin Ravioli

I’m learning to like pumpkin. It’s not that I don’t like it, so much as I’m ambivalent, sometimes it’s great. Other times, not so much. We didn’t want to waste the wonderful pumpkins we got from theĀ Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival, so after checking out a number of recipes, we settled on this Pumpkin Ravioli recipe from Food.com. Only after we’d settled on this plan, did I learn that pumpkins for eating are different from carving pumpkins. Luckily, Austin American-Statesman food writer, Addie Broyles, helped me plan. So we carved and then roasted the pieces.

  • We went from this:To this:

Ingredients:
8 tbsp Butter (one stick)
1 tbsp Sage, Fresh, chiffonade8 oz Pumpkin1 medium Yellow Onion, diced1/2 cup Pine Nuts (Toasted. We used olive oil and salt and pepper)12 oz Wonton Wraps (one package)2 eggs3 Roma Tomatoes, diced (the last from our garden!)3 tsp Lemon Juice (or half a fresh lemon)

Directions:

1. Add 1 tablespoon butter to each pumpkin half, and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter to onion, season with salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. In a preheated 350-degree oven, roast onion and pumpkin, cut-side up, until completely soft and somewhat caramelized, about 45 minutes. (If using roasted, roast pumpkin first at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove skin and dice. Sautee in butter salt and pepper with the diced yellow onion. Then move on to step 2.)

2. Add cooked pumpkin and onion in a food processor (we used a blender), pulsing until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer pumpkin puree into a bowl, add half of the toasted pine nuts and 1 beaten egg and stir to combine.

3 Cover wonton wrappers with a damp cloth. Assemble bowl of pumpkin puree, beaten egg, pastry brush and a sheet tray dusted with flour. Lay out 1 wonton wrapper and place a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin puree in the middle. Brush around the filling with beaten egg and cover with another wonton wrapper. Press edges. Place raviolis on a sheet tray and put in freezer.

4. In a small sauce pot, add remaining butter and cook on medium heat until the butter bubbles and turns brown. Remove from heat and add tomatoes, sage and a squeeze of lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Cook ravioli in boiling water until they float. (Note: This happens quickly!) Transfer ravioli to 4 warm bowls and drizzle with brown sage butter sauce. Top with remaining toasted pine nuts.

My Opinion:
The first taste was off, but by the third I couldn’t stop eating. Some bites were very pumpkin flavored, others more subtle. It’s filling, not terribly difficult and a lovely fall flavored dish. Another few dashes of salt and pepper made a difference. J added Parmesan cheese. We will be making it again.

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Learn the Rules

All conferences are different. South by Southwest was described to me as: Spring Break for tech and social people. It’s overwhelming and easy to feel left out. If it’s your first time, take the time to watch and observe the game. Because that’s what it is: a game.

There are rules, some implied and others explicit (mostly, don’t be a jerk). Once you learn the rules, the game becomes easier to play, but here’s the catch the rules (according to those who have attended more than one SXSW) change every year, but once you learn the basics playing the higher levels is easier.

First, learn the logistics. This year’s SXSW was spread across 10 campuses, miles apart. If you weren’t lucky enough to be in a downtown hotel, add parking or taking the shuttle to the list of things to navigate. As Omar L. Gallaga of the Austin American Statesman points out in his Austin360.com blog, spreading out the campuses meant overcrowded panels in some places and near-empty sessions in others. Some lines were worth waiting in and others once you got in, many people wondered out loud why they waited for the session. Accept that ahead of time.

Second, realize you’re there to meet people, not just attend panels. Gallaga states, this year’s attendance at SXSW jumped nearly 36 percent over last year to 19.364. That’s a lot of people! It was easy to make friends and exchange business cards (another type of game play). Have your 30 second elevator speech ready and if you want to provide additional information that what your business card already has, write it on the back before you head to the convention center.

Third, be flexible. The more flexible you are, the more prepared you’ll be when the session you want to go to is full or when a stranger invites you to dinner. However, flexible does not mean unsafe. You have gut feelings for a reason, use them.

Fourth, pre-plan. Look over the conference schedule as soon as it comes out. Know which sessions are a must attend (either by your choosing or your boss’s choosing). Then when the times get attached, it will be easier to decide where to be when.

Fifth, accept the learning curve. If it takes you two days of a five-day conference to feel like you have a handle on what’s going on, then at least you figured it out. There’s a reason people return to conferences year after year, and not just SXSW. They understand what’s expected of them and what they can expect of the sessions, workshops, panels and other attendees.

Bonus: It helps even more to connect with someone who has attended the conference before. They can be a great resource for knowing hidden information, such as if you hate a session, feel free to walk out (not accepted at all conferences). Also, don’t get overwhelmed by the have-tos. Go do some sight-seeing. Visit a restaurant off the beaten path.