Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saratoga's Olde Bryan Inn and Pumpkin Ravioli

The other night my friend Kate and I had dinner at the Olde Bryan Inn on the corner of Rock Street and Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs. Known as the OBI to locals, the Inn has a lovely atmosphere, especially the cozy and welcoming front room, warmed by two fireplaces (one on each end). The dimly lit, intimate room hosts large wooden beams, original framed windows and rock-surfaced walls. Generations-old portraits of apparently important people survey the room ( with the rumor that there is, as witnessed by many, a resident ghost who reveals herself in the upstairs ladies room!). Wooden tables are framed by booth seats which are actually antique pews from an old church. In addition to booths that line the front wall, there are tables for two and tables for more. Live plants hang from the ceiling. Vines wrap around poles. Little white lights twinkle. It’s a great place to get away for lunch or dinner.

In addition to the front room, there is seating in the bar area, and two additional dining rooms. In the summer months, the OBI offers outdoor space, often with entertainment.

The menu is always good, and daily specials broaden the abundant choices. I typically order the soup, salad, and muffin combo, with my favorite, onion soup. This night I ordered a special: a small sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and mixed garden beans. It was very good but as I had my dinner, I coveted Kate’s selection: pumpkin ravioli, and vowed to order it next time.

I’ve been thinking about making pumpkin ravioli ever since, which I might have to do if I don’t get back to the OBI anytime soon. The following is how I will prepare this beautiful autumn dish, using wonton wrappers instead of pasta dough, since I don't own a pasta machine and wonton wrappers are used all over the Food Network. If they're good enough for Giada DeLaurentis, they're good enough for me!

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter Cream

  • 1 lb. pureed pumpkin, canned is fine (or pureed sweet potatoes, or butternut squash)
  • ½ cup thick Greek yogurt, plain (do NOT use regular yogurt – it’s too thin); or 4 oz. ricotta cheese, thickened by draining in a bowl over folded paper towels for one hour
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup or 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 10-12 grinds fresh black pepper
  • Wonton wrappers
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 bar plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup light cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Mix pumpkin well with yogurt (or cheese), maple syrup or brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Chill mixture for about an hour.

Put on a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt and 2 tbsp. olive oil (to prevent ravioli from sticking). Meanwhile, assemble ravioli:

Place about 1 tsp.chilled pumpkin mixture in center of wonton wrapper. Moisten edges and press together to form a filled triangle, like a little pillow. Continue until you use up all of the pumpkin.

In large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add chopped sage and slowly bring butter to a foaming boil, noting when it just begins to brown. Continue cooking, but watch closely as you stir the butter in the pan with a wooden spoon, and bring it to a golden brown without burning. This happens very quickly. (Be careful to remove the pan from the heat if it shows any sign of burning.) With a wooden spoon or whisk, stir in cream. Heat through. Turn off heat.

Drop ravioli in boiling water and cook until they rise to the top, about two minutes. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and place on platter that’s been warmed in the oven or with hot water. Cover with foil or lid until all are cooked.

Toss drained ravioli with hot sage butter cream. Plate for individual servings and sprinkle generously with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.

Photo credit and OBI website:

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