Sweet Potato Ravioli with Arugula Pesto

January 15, 2016

When I was a student in Italy many years ago, a dear friend taught me the craft of making homemade pasta. We'd spend hours in my little kitchen rolling out dough for tagliatelle, pappardelle, tortellini, ravioli. I continued the passion for homemade pasta for many years, even lugging my trusted hand-crank pasta maker when I moved to Japan.

Now a busy working mother, I look back on those carefree culinary days with nostalgia.

I cannot wait to try a new fantastic tool: the hand-crafted Fonde ravioli rolling pin (it's so beautiful you'll want to leave it on your kitchen counter). Making any fresh pasta can be a daunting task, and cutting ravioli into perfect uniform squares can be downright hair-pulling. But the Fonde rolling pin eliminates the stress. You simply roll it over your stuffed sheets of pasta (you can even use fresh, store-bought sheets of pasta) and out come perfect, magical ravioli! Even us busy parents can make fresh ravioli in no time. Watch the following short video to see how easy it is to make ravioli and get their Sweet Potato Ravioli with Arugula Pesto recipe below.

Fonde rolling pins, made by Repast Supply Co., are handmade in the U.S. and the company gives back by planting trees. That alone should make your ravioli taste even better!

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Arugula Pesto

By Kenan Hill, recipe developer for Repast Supply Co.


1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup semolina

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs plus 2 yolks

For the filling:

1 cup roasted sweet potato

½ cup ricotta

½ cup parmesan, grated

1 teaspoon salt
For the pesto sauce:

3 cups arugula 

½ cup basil

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled

½ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup parmesan
For the garnishes:

¼ cup pine nuts

½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon oil

3-4 slices prosciutto


Make the pasta dough:

Step 1. In a large bowl, mix together flours and salt, then create a well in the center. In a small bowl, scramble eggs and yolks with a fork, then add into flour well with 2 ounces water. Stir, gradually incorporating flour into eggs. Continue stirring, adding water if necessary, until dough is almost all together. Turn out onto a floured surface. 

Step 2. Knead dough for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth. To knead, press dough with heel of hand, fold in half, rotate 90 degrees, then repeat. Dough should be somewhat tacky. Sprinkle dough with flour if it is too sticky. Use a spray bottle to add more water if dough is too dry. When kneading is complete, wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes to one hour.

Make the pesto:

Step 1. Combine arugula, basil, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Slowly add oil, and process until combined. Season to taste with salt, then stir in cheese. Set aside. If making ahead, store in an airtight container in the fridge, then allow to come to room temperature when ready to use.

Make the candy pine nuts:

Step 1. In a saucepan, heat sugar and 1 cup water over medium heat. Once sugar dissolves, add pine nuts and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Step 2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 3. Drain pine nuts and pat dry on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. 

Step 4. Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, stirring and checking regularly until golden brown. Set aside to cool. If making ahead, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Crisp the prosciutto:

Step 1. Cut or tear prosciutto into approximately 2 inch pieces.

Step 2. Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.

3. Add a few pieces of prosciutto to the hot pan, cook for about 30 seconds, then flip. Pieces should turn a darker shade when cooked. Place cooked pieces on a paper towel or brown paper bag to drain.

4. Repeat with remaining batches, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Set aside.

Make the filling:

Step 1. In a medium bowl, mash sweet potato, then combine with ricotta, parmesan, and salt.

Roll dough and fill ravioli:

Step 1. Cut dough into quarters and cover 3 of the pieces to keep them from drying out while you roll. 

Step 2. If using a machine, start rolling dough with the widest setting and roll thinner one setting at a time. Roll until you can see through the dough when held up to a light, usually the second thinnest setting. Fold in half (short end to short end) and roll again. Set rolled dough aside, covering with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Repeat with other pieces of dough.

Step 3. If rolling by hand, flour a large cutting board or countertop. Use a pin (or a wine bottle in a pinch) to roll dough into an oblong piece. Dough should be thin enough to see the pattern on your countertops. Cover rolled dough and repeat with other pieces of dough.

Step 4. If using a ravioli rolling pin to fill pasta: Lay one sheet of rolled dough on a surface sprinkled with flour or semolina. Spread half of the filling on the dough, leaving a 1-2 inch border on the sides and about 4 inches at the far end (where you’ll stop rolling). Lay another sheet of dough on top of the filling, gently pressing out as many air bubbles as possible. Line up rolling pin at one end, then firmly press and roll. Cut pockets apart with a fluted ravioli cutter, pizza cutter, or sharp knife. 

Step 5. If using a ravioli tray: Cut rolled sheets down to slightly larger than the tray. Place one piece of dough on the tray. Gently press dough into tray, then spoon filling into holes. Place another sheet of dough on top, gently pressing air bubbles as you lay it down. Roll a rolling pin across tray to seal pockets. Flip tray to turn dough out. Cut pockets apart with a fluted ravioli cutter, pizza cutter, or sharp knife. 

Step 6. Place formed ravioli on an upside down baking sheet or flexible cutting board sprinkled with semolina (to prevent sticking). Repeat with other sheets and remaining filling.

Cook ravioli and plate:

Step 1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Step 2. Add a large spoonful of pesto to a large bowl and set near your workstation.

Step 3. Generously salt boiling water. Add 8-10 ravioli to water, then immediately stir to keep from sticking to bottom. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until ravioli float to top and are tender. You can test the doneness by taking one out and cutting off the corner to taste. 

Step 4. As you remove ravioli from water with slotted spoon, add to bowl with pesto and toss to coat. 

Step 5. Repeat with remaining batches of ravioli, adding more pesto to the bowl as necessary.

6. Serve hot, topped with candied pine nuts, crispy prosciutto (crumble if desired), and additional shaved parmesan (optional).

Notes and Tips:
- Pesto, pine nuts, filling, and ravioli can all be made ahead of time.

- Store pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator (will last at least a week). Leftover pesto freezes well. Can be substituted with a traditional all-basil pesto.

- Store pine nuts in an airtight container at room temperature.

- Prosciutto is best if made just before serving. Thinly sliced Serrano ham is a good substitute.

- Uncooked ravioli will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two in an airtight container sprinkled generously with semolina. It also keeps frozen for at least a month. To freeze, place ravioli in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with semolina or cornmeal. Freeze for at least 1 hour, then move frozen ravioli to a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Cook from frozen, increasing cook time by 1-2 minutes.

- Extra filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days.