As you may know, Nanna and Scout both kidded just about a month ago. Nanna’s doeling took to just one teat, leaving Nanna’s udder completely lopsided. I was fraught with worry that Nanna had mastitis, so the first few days were filled with checking her udder for symptoms and milking the side not nursed to relieve the pressure on that side at least twice a day. Boy, was it frustrating! Home inspector hubby was gone for a conference, leaving me to deal with our first time mama and milker during a torrid heat wave. We had started training her to get on the milking stanchion before kidding, but she still looked at me with wanting eyes and stretched out tongue when I held her grain just out of reach to coax her onto it. With both of us new to milking her, she kicked and protested obstinately. But I did manage to milk her out and massage her udder with warm peppermint tea.
Shortly after that weekend, we tested her milk with the California Mastitis Test we ordered and were relieved to find it showed no signs of an infection. So, instead of throwing out perfectly fine milk, we kept it and made delicious goat cheese! I used the chèvre starter culture from Cultures for Health, and the process was relatively easy. It was a two-night process that mostly involved letting the curds set the first night and then draining the whey the second night.
We just harvested a kabocha pumpkin from the garden, so I was inspired to make a pumpkin goat cheese ravioli for Sunday supper. We first roasted the kabocha halves, cut side down on a lightly oiled, foil-lined roasting pan for about 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees F. Sous chef husband made the dough from scratch, let it rest for 30 minutes, and rolled out sheets to the thinnest setting. I reminded him to aim for all of them to be about the same size.
The recipe makes just enough for 2 people (because I realized at the last minute that we had only 2 oz of goat cheese left).
Pasta Dough: 3/4 c all purpose flour, 1/4 c whole wheat flour, 1 egg (from our hen Sgt Pepper), 1/2 tsp salt, 2-3 Tbsp water
Filling: 1/2 of the kabocha pumpkin (or butternut squash or delicata squash) flesh scooped out and mixed with 2 oz of goat cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brown Butter Sauce: 4 oz of salted butter, 8-10 small sage leaves, 2 cloves garlic, minced
Before filling the ravioli, get a large pot of salted water boiling.
To seal the two sheets of pasta together, use your finger to brush the edges and in between the filling with water before setting another sheet of pasta on top. Then press the sheets together to seal, working from around the filling outwards.
I made the ravioli very rustic… just because. So I left them huge and just made straight cuts with a knife in between the filling. You can use a pastry cutter with crimper blade or a round cookie cutter if you want to get fancy.
It takes about the same amount of time to cook the pasta as it does to make the sauce, so preheat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Toss the ravioli in the boiling salted water and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Melt the butter in the sauté pan and swirl the pan to get even browning of the butter. Use your senses. The butter will be foamy and start smelling nutty as it starts to brown. Keep swirling. Once it turns almost hazelnut brown, toss in the minced garlic and sage leaves and cut the heat. It will continue to cook with the remaining heat in the pan.
Stir the garlic and sage with a wooden spatula to mix and infuse the butter with their oils and aroma. Strain the pasta and gently place the ravioli into the pan with the brown butter sauce and turn the heat back on to medium-high. At this point, you are just coating the ravioli with the sauce and allowing them to brown ever so slightly. Once they are all coated, serve on warm plates and top with grated parmesan. The sweet pumpkin, tangy goat cheese, nutty, garlicky sage brown butter, and salty parmesan all sing together beautifully.