Valley Bounty: Thanksgiving Ravioli

Rochelle Bellin always enjoys gathering with her family on Thanksgiving. But, Bellin explained during a recent conversation, “the exciting part for me is when we get to leftover day. Essentially what we do is eat pie for the first hours of the morning. Then we make ravioli in the afternoon.” Bellin is the Associate Director of Just Roots, a nonprofit that increases knowledge about and demand for local food in Franklin County and runs the Greenfield Community Farm. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I asked Bellin about her favorite ways to celebrate, and cook, during the holiday weekend.

With Just Roots, Bellin helps people who might not have regular access to the local bounty build community and culture around food, through everything from a mobile CSA to cooking classes and community meals. In many ways, Bellin explained, the ethos of Thanksgiving aligns with the work she does year-round. “Meals can be a place to gather, to pause, to share joys and challenges, and to connect together. Meals can offer that magical and precious space for us every day,” she said. But while Bellin relishes the joy in food and family that comes with Thanksgiving, she remains mindful of the fact that the myth of the holiday minimizes the genocide of Native Americans. “I think that there’s been more and more of a tradition of acknowledging that the land that we grow on, the places that we exist on in the US, are stolen land. So for me, part of Thanksgiving is an acknowledgement of that. That this land that we’re grateful for has historically, and currently, been at the expense of native peoples here.”

Recognizing the bittersweet history of Thanksgiving hasn’t hampered Bellin’s passion for cooking with her family. For the past decade or so, she has gathered with her siblings in New York for the holiday. “My sister, my brother, and I would get together and cook enough food for about 40. And usually eat with about 6 people. We’ve never been able to give up any of our dishes, so we just accept that we’re going to be eating them for the next three weeks,” she said. It was in that spirit that the Bellin family began repurposing their Thanksgiving leftovers into ravioli. “When I’m eating a dish that I’m so exquisitely enjoying, I do my best to make every bite my favorite bite,” Bellin explained. “I think that what Thanksgiving leftovers ravioli offers is the chance to stuff the ravioli to make it so that every ravioli is that perfect bite. All of the ingredients are at their finest balance and every bite is cultivated into something fantastically delicious.” So as you’re spending the weekend resting, reflecting, and visiting with family, try out this Bellin family favorite as a new way to clear out the fridge.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Ravioli  Recipe by Rochelle Bellin

Serves 3-4 people

Mix three eggs, two cups all-purpose flour, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and consistent, with a bit of stick to its surface. Add flicks of water as needed if the dough dries out during kneading. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 45 minutes.

Get out your leftovers from Thanksgiving, which could include roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed parsnips, and whatever else you’d like. Mince everything that isn’t already mashed.

Once the dough has rested in the fridge, use a pasta roller or rolling pin to roll it into long rectangles, at least four inches wide. Get the dough as thin as possible without breaking. Then, place dollops of your minced leftovers on the dough. Mix and match leftovers as desired, but it’s a good idea to include cranberry sauce in each filling. Leave an inch between each dollop. Once the dollops are in a row, run a wet basting brush around the edges of each dollop. Then fold the pasta over itself and press down around each dollop to complete the seal. Cut the space between each dollop to create individual raviolis.

Toss the raviolis into boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes. They will float when ready. Heat up your left-over gravy from Thanksgiving, then toss the raviolis with the gravy and top with lemon and parsley to taste.

Noah Baustin is the Communications Coordinator at CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)