Sunday, October 18, 2009
Butternut Squash Ravioli
This is a recipe I have been wanting to make for ages, but have been unintentionally avoiding because I knew it would be very time consuming. So on a lazy Saturday afternoon I decided to make this delicious sounding recipe with some fresh butternut squash out of my garden.
This ravioli went above and beyond my expectations. My husband and I truly loved it and were so impressed with the flavors. It is perfect for this time of year when all you want are hearty, comforting foods. And really this recipe is easy to follow and easy to make. Of course it's time consuming since you are making fresh pasta, but it really is worth the effort.
Source: Williams-Sonoma Italian cookbook, page 55
For the Pasta Dough
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon safflower oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
For the Squash Filling:
1 butternut squash, about 1.5 lb
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
For the Butter & Sage sauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter
40-50 small fresh sage leaves (I used about 20 leaves since I didn't want to strip my poor little sage plant. But I really think the 40-50 would have been great)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
For the pasta dough: To make the dough by hand, place the flour in a mound on a wooden or plastic work surface. Make a well in the center. In a measuring cup, whisking together the eggs and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the well. Then, using your fingers and working in a circular motion, gradually blend the egg mixture into the flour. Lightly flour your hands, gather the dough into a ball, and knead, adding additional flour in small amounts as needed to prevent stickiness until smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place the dough in a plastic bag or just on the counter and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to let the dough relax.
Cut the dough in halves or fourths to make it more manageable to work with. To roll the dough on a pasta machine, adjust the rollers to the widest setting. Flatten the piece of dough with your hand or a rolling pin, lightly dust the dough with flour, and pass through the rollers. Fold the dough in half and pass it through the rollers a second time. Repeat the rolling and folding 6-8 more times or until the dough is smooth. Flour the dough lightly if it tears or starts to stick, brushing off the excess. Reset the rollers one width narrower and pass dough through them. Again reset one width narrower and repeat, passing the dough without folding through the rollers. Continue to put the dough through the rollers, without folding it and using a narrower setting for each pass, until the sheet of dough is the desired thinness, usually the last setting for pasta such a ravioli. Each sheet should be about 4-5 inches wide. Makes about 1 lb. of pasta dough.
To Make the Squash Filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and discard. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cut side down, and bake until very soft with pierced with he top of a knife, about 35-45 minutes. Let cool to the touch. Peel the squash and puree the fles in a food processor. Add the bread crumbs, egg yolk, and Parmesan and pulse to blend. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and pulse to combine. Set aside.
To assemble the ravioli, roll out the pasta dough as stated above. Place a pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface and spoon 1 tablespoon squash filling onto the pasta at 2 inch intervals. Using your fingers or a pastry bursh, lightly dampen the edges of the pasta sheet and the spaces between the filling with the egg wash. Top with a second pasta sheet and press with your fingers along the edges and around each mound of filling to seal and remove air bubles. Cut into squares with a straight edged pastry wheel or sharp, thin bladed knife, then press the edges to secure. Make sure the filling does not break the sale, or the raviol with come apart during cooking.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a saucepam pver medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sage and cooking without stirring until the leaves crisp slightly and infused the butter, 2 -3 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain well, place in a warmed large, shallow bowl and top with the sauce and Parmesan. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve at once.