It doesn't require a lot of ingredients to make good Italian food at home. It's also not only about tomato sauce and tonnes of different types of cheese.
Focaccia is an Italian bread with different toppings, but it's not pizza. It's a great starter to an Italian meal and you can add any toppings you like.
This pumpkin ravioli is very popular at my home. It has the most amazing flavours and the crumb gives it some extra texture. And if you prefer, you can make it without the crumb too.
Roasted pumpkin ravioli with pine nut crumb
For the pasta:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup water
1 tsp salt
For the filling:
3 cups of half-inch cubed pumpkin
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
1/3 cup goat cheese or any semi soft cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
For the crumb:
1 cup roughly shredded bread crumbs
1/3 cup sun dried tomato (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
For the sauce:
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Make the pasta dough first. To make the pasta dough, beat the eggs. Mix salt and flour together. Make a well in the middle. Pour the egg and 1/4 cup water. Start kneading. Add rest of the water as needed.
Knead for 10 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth but not too sticky. Cover it with cling film and let it rest for one hour, after which time, it will be easier to roll.
To make the filling, preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C.
Mix the olive oil with the pumpkin and add the garlic. Roast them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until soft and a little brown.
Let it cool, then mash with a fork and mix all the ingredients for the filling. Set it aside.
Roll the pasta dough into a long sheet, as thin as possible. Put one table spoon of filling on one end of the sheet. Continue putting one spoonful of mixture in a single file over the sheet, keeping one - inch space in between until you reach the end. Then, cover it with another thin layer of pasta.
Now press the air out in between each raviolo, and cut out with a knife or cutter. Pinch the sides to make sure the ravioli are sealed. Repeat with rest of the dough and filling.
Once the ravioli is ready, boil plenty of water in a pot. Add salt. Drop the ravioli and cook them for three to four minutes until they float to the top. Strain the ravioli.
For the crumb, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the bread crumbs, pine nuts and sun-dried tomato. Fry over medium heat until the crumb is crispy and light brown.
For the sauce, brown the butter in a small pan. Once brown add the balsamic vinegar.
To serve, place the ravioli on a serving dish, sprinkle the crumb over and drizzle the brown butter sauce on top.
You can grate some parmesan cheese on top if you like.
Balsamic onion focaccia
3 cups flour
1 tsp yeast
1+ 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, rosemary)
Olive oil, to grease the baking pan
For the balsamic onion topping:
1 medium size onion, sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
First, in one cup of water, add the yeast and sugar and let it sit for five minutes.
Mix the salt and herbs with the flour.
Make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture. If it seems dry, add the rest of the 1/4 cup of water, little at a time.
The dough should be sticky and soft. Now keep adding the olive oil, two tablespoons at a time, and keep kneading until all the oil is incorporated.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic, cover and let it proof in a warm place for an hour and a half to two hours until it has doubled in size.
While the dough is proofing, make the balsamic onion topping. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and cook for five minutes over medium heat until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar and let the vinegar reduce for two to three minutes, or until absorbed by the onions. Once done, let it cool.
After the dough is doubled in size, take a 9 by 13 inch baking pan and grease with olive oil. Pour the dough on the pan and start spreading the dough with your finger.
Once the whole pan is covered with the dough, spread the onions over it and gently poke them into the dough with your fingers. Sprinkle some salt over the topping.
Cover and let it proof for 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 420°F/210°C. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until brown on top.
Note: You can add any toppings you like. Tomato, garlic, olives, cheese, boiled potatoes, etc.