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Sweet Potato Ravioli

A couple of posts ago I mentioned wanting to try making pumpkin tortelloni at home. For some reason, reasonably large butternut squash seem to be evading my usual grocers this season, and they’re fairly expensive. Similarly, no fresh pasta sheets under $5 a packet…and I didn’t know how to make my own very well or want to spend that kind of time. But yams are in, and some of them are nearly the size of footballs. And I found a packet of round gyoza (alternate spelling for jao tze?) wrappers next to the squares for wontons and eggrolls in the supermarket. With my usual impatience, I decided to go for it.

The result was pretty good–a bit simpler than Colosseo’s tortellini in saffron cream, and certainly a little less rich, but definitely good, and not too much work once I figured out what I wanted. From start to finish, including all the dithering, it took me about an hour to prepare and assemble everything. And I cooked it successfully in the microwave, always a plus in my book.

So here goes:

Sweet Potato Ravioli (or yam; everyone gets those mixed up, even the grocers, and it really doesn’t matter that much)—4 big servings or 6 small ones

Packet of Gyoza/Jao tse or won ton wrappers, or your own pasta dough cut in 2″ diameter circles or squares, as you prefer.


  • 1 huge yam or two normal baked-potato-sized ones
  • 1/4 medium red or yellow onion, chopped reasonably fine
  • small clove of garlic, minced or grated
  • few sprigs of thyme or sage
  • grating of nutmeg and lemon peel (~ 1/8 to 1/4 t. each, or a bit more)
  • 2 T or so goat cheese, ricotta, or feta, optional

1. Scrub the yam(s). Peel and if not too hard to cut, cube the flesh. Place in a covered pyrex bowl or microwaveable container with 1/4″ water in the bottom. Microwave on high about 5 min. The yam(s) should be fork-tender. If they’re still tough, turn them, cover again, and give them another minute or so. Then drain off the water and mash them a bit.

2. Fry the chopped onion and herbs in a little olive oil to start browning them, add the garlic and the yam, and toss to brown a little more. Take off the heat, stir in the cheese if using, and grate nutmeg and a bit of lemon peel into the mixture.

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1 T (heaping) flour
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1-2 c milk (I use skim, use what you have)
  • 1 clove garlic mashed, minced or grated
  • 1-2 T shredded basil
  • 2 oz lowfat mozzarella, in small pieces
  • grated nutmeg and lemon peel to taste

1. Make a roux with the flour and olive oil in a nonstick frying pan–stir them together while heating for a minute or so until the mixture bubbles slightly.

2. Turn off the heat and add the milk a very little at a time while mixing with a spatula to make a smooth paste that eventually thins out without lumps.

3. Reheat the pan, stirring in the mozzarella, basil, nutmeg and lemon rind. The mixture should thicken as it nears a boil and the cheese should melt and incorporate. Turn off the heat.

Assembly and cooking:

Have a pyrex pie plate or casserole with a microwaveable lid ready to hold the ravioli. Put water in a soupbowl and separate the wrappers out on a plate.

1. To stuff the wrappers, dip a wrapper in the bowl to wet it on one side, then place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wet side and fold the wrapper into a half-moon, pinching the edges together to seal them and squeezing out any air as you go around. Set each filled ravioli with the curved, pinched edge standing up in the pie plate. Fill as many wrappers as you can–it might be about 20 ravioli or so–and arrange them as best possible in a single layer in the pie plate. Store any remaining wrappers in a plastic sandwich bag in the freezer.
2. To cook, carefully pour a scant 1/4″ of water into the bottom of the pie plate between the ravioli. Cover the pie plate with a microwaveable lid and microwave on high for 2 min. to steam the ravioli somewhat and prevent raw dough on the bottom–never a nice surprise. If your lid is thick pyrex, you might need a little extra time, but check first–the dough should be turning translucent and cooked-looking. If it needs more time, take a soupspoon and run it with a little water over the tops of the ravioli to prevent scorching before covering and microwaving another 30 seconds or so.
3. Then uncover and spread the thickened cheese sauce over the entire plateful of ravioli, filling in the cracks where possible. Cover again and microwave 5 min. on high.

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