One of my favorite pasta dishes to order out is Butternut Squash Ravioli. To me, it’s almost like eating dessert for dinner, because it’s just that good! One advantage is that squash is actually good for you! Butternut squash is the most popular among winter squash varieties. It is oftentimes recognized as a large pear shaped golden-yellow pumpkin fruit; that’s described as tasting sweet, nutty and a little like a sweet potato. It contains many anti-oxidants and vitamins and has more vitamin A than that in pumpkin. This dish also gives me the excuse to pull out my pasta machine and play!
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cups Flour, plus some for dusting
Blend the eggs and flour together in a kitchen aid mixer using the dough hook. (You could use a food processor or mix by hand with a fork) Drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. If the ball of dough is even slightly sticky when you take it out then pat it with flour. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about ten minutes. Form it into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature on the counter.
After the dough has rested, either roll it out by hand or use a pasta machine to thin out the dough and make sheets. When you are working with your dough it should not be sticky at all so sprinkle it with flour as needed. My pasta attachment has a number of settings; setting 1 makes the dough the thickest and the larger numbers make it the thinner. I start on 1, fold the dough over a few times and keep running it through until it is a nice flat piece. Then progress through 2, 3, 4, etc. to the desired thickness. I have found that when making ravioli it is best to stop at 4 otherwise it will get too thin and break apart easily.
Filling: (I had extra that I froze for later use)
6 Cups Butternut Squash, roasted
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil, for roasting
3 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Butter
Zest of a large Orange
8 oz pkg Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Nut of Nutmeg, (grated)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast the squash in the oven about an hour until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly, then scoop out the meat of the squash.
I tried to pass it through a food mill, but had better luck with a food processor; pulsing it until it was smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together thoroughly.
Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick. On the bottom half of a sheet of pasta, place teaspoon sized mounds of the filling spaced about an inch apart. Fold over the unfilled half of the pasta sheet. Be careful covering each mound so that no air is trapped. Press firmly between the mounds of filling to seal. If your pasta is on the dry side, use egg wash to seal the top and bottom layers together.
Use a pizza cutter or pastry wheel to cut the sheet into squares or rectangles, checking that each piece is well sealed. Place the ravioli, not touching one another, on baking sheets dusted with flour. Let stand 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature, turning the pieces occasionally before cooking to dry. (If you want to freeze the ravioli, this is the time to do it. Place leftover pasta’s on sheets of wax paper in a Tupperwear container. Raviolis should not be touching and there is never a need to defrost… just throw the frozen ones right in the boiling water for about two to four minutes.)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for about four minutes; or until al dente. They will float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Pull the ravioli from water with a large strainer. Serve with the browned butter (following) and shaved Parmesan cheese.
Brown Butter Sauce:
1 Stick Butter
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
8-10 Sage Leaves, chiffonade
Salt and Pepper, freshly found to taste
Cut the sage. Cook the butter over med-high heat in a saute pan. Brown the butter, stirring frequently to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, until the butter is fragrant and the milk solids have turned a deep brown.
Add the sage leaves and the pressed garlic to the butter. Add the toasted pecans and lower the heat. Mix in the cream and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour over cooked ravioli. The pasta will have little pillows of the creamy filling!
We enjoyed this pasta along side of some marinated flank steak, along with a Clairborne Churchill, 2009 Pino Noir.