Thanksgiving Dinner with a Twist: How to make pumpkin ravioli with pumpkin seed pesto

By: Melanie

Is it me, or has this year flown by? It was just Valentine’s Day (wasn’t it?!), and yet somehow, Thanksgiving is nearly upon us.  Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays. As a vegetarian, a day centered on eating turkey isn’t really my style. Secondly, while I love (LOVE) pumpkin pie (or anything pumpkin, for that matter!), I can easily forego most other traditional Thanksgiving foods.

Despite this, Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart (and not just because it marks the official start of the Christmas season in my house!). Those who know me well are very aware that I’m a descendent of John Howland, a pilgrim who voyaged to America aboard the Mayflower. He was one of the early signers of the Mayflower Compact and was a founding member of Plymouth Colony.  

The John Howland House, Plymouth, MA

When I taught high school English, I would always find a way to slip in a reading of William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation around this time of year.  My favorite passage? Of course it’s Bradford’s account of “a lusty young man called John Howland.” He writes that during a great storm, Howland was “thrown into sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards which hung overboard and ran out at length. Yet he held his hold (though he was sundry fathoms under water) till he was hauled up by the same rope to the brim of the water, and then with a boat hook and other means got into the ship again and his life saved. And though he was something ill with it, yet he lived many years after and became a profitable member both in church and commonwealth.”

Not only is this story miraculous, but it reminds me of the determination, resolve, and tenacity that was instrumental in shaping our country.

So, in honor of the first Thanksgiving, I’ve opted to share a meal inspired by one of the crops gifted to Pilgrims by Native Americans: the pumpkin. And in honor of…well…me, I’ve decided to provide a twist on the classic Thanksgiving entre. This year, forego the turkey (I think I can hear my husband scoffing!) and try scratch made pumpkin ravioli instead!

Pumpkin Ravioli with pumpkin seed pesto

Step 1: How to make pureed pumpkin

Step 2: How to make pumpkin seed pesto

Step 3: How to make pumpkin ravioli filling

Step 4: How to make ravioli dough and assemble pumpkin ravioli

 Step 1: How to make pumpkin Puree:


1 small (pie or sweet) pumpkin—4 lbs is sufficient


–       Split pumpkin in half widthwise

–       Remove the seeds, rinse, and set aside to dry

–       Remove the stringy fibers by scraping the inside of the pumpkin

–       Wrap each half in tin foil and bake at 325 for an hour and half or until tender

–       Spoon out the flesh and puree in a food processor.

–       Set aside or refrigerate


Step 2: How to make Pumpkin Seed Pesto


–       1/2  cup  hulled pumpkin seeds

–       1 1/2  cups  packed fresh parsley

–       1  small clove garlic

–       1/2  cup  extra-virgin olive oil

–       1/2  cup  freshly grated Parmesan

–       1/4  teaspoon  cayenne pepper

–       1/8  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

–       Salt


–       Toast pumpkin seeds in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

–       Combine seeds, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.

–        With motor running, add oil in a steady stream and process until smooth

–       Scrape mixture into a bowl and stir in Parmesan, cayenne and cinnamon

–       Set aside or refrigerate


Step 3: How to make pumpkin ravioli filling:

Pumpkin Puree


–       1 cup pumpkin puree

–       ½ cup ricotta cheese

–       1 tsp cinnamon

–       a pinch of nutmeg

–       a pinch of salt


–       Mix all ingredients together and either set aside or refrigerate

Need dough for about 8 minutes (or until arms hurt!)


Step 4: How to make ravioli dough and assemble pumpkin ravioli


–       3 cups all-purpose flour

–       1 teaspoon salt

–       4 eggs

–       2 tablespoons olive oil

–       1 egg yolk, for egg wash


–       In an electric mixer (fitted with a dough hook) mix flour and salt.

–       Add eggs 1 at a time and continue to mix.

–       Drizzle in oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. The dough should be soft and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

–        On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until elastic and smooth or about 8 minutes.

–        Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

–       Cut the ball of dough in half and on a lightly floured work surface (or in a pasta machine) roll each half into a long, thin rectangle. (You might find it more managable to cut each rectangle in half, so you will have a total of four strips) Your dough should be no more than 1/8th of an inch thick.

–       Brush the surface of the dough with egg yolk.

–        Drop about 1 tablespoon of pumpkin filing about 2-inches apart on one of the rectangles.

–       Place the other rectangle over the first rectangle and gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling. This should form a seal.

–        Use a pizza cutter (or a ravioli crimper, if you have it) to cut each pillow into squares.


 If using a pizza cutter, use a fork to fully seal all edges.

–       Cook the ravioli in plenty of salted, boiling salted water for about 5 minutes or until the ravioli will floats to the top.

–       Do not rinse the pasta, put place it immediately on the plate after straining.

–       Top with pumpkin seed pesto

Enjoy…you’ve worked hard!

About melanieandchristy

Follow us on twitter: @christy_melanie
This entry was posted in Holiday dishes, Italian Food, Of Plymouth Plantation, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s