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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Sage Brown Butter Sauce


Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Sage
Brown Butter Sauce and homemade baguette slices. 
There was a time when I had never had any kind of ravioli (unless that horrible stuff from Chef Boyardee counts - and even when I was a kid I knew enough to know that was nasty). We certainly didn't grow up with it and none of the restaurants in the area served it.  Fast forward many years and here in New England, or at least in my little part of it, there are Italian restaurants on every corner. Some really good, some not so good but you can't avoid them here (not that I would want to!).  They all serve ravioli of some type and I've come to embrace it.

There was also a time when I'd run screaming if someone told me I had to eat butternut squash. Luckily, both I and my taste buds have matured a lot since then.  I now love it and have eaten it in many different ways but my favorite is in ravioli.  If you start searching you'll find lots of different recipes for it - some with and some without ricotta, and some with and some without a sage brown butter sauce. This one happens to have both (ricotta and a brown butter sauce) simply because that's the way I prefer it, but you can easily alter this recipe to suit your tastes.

Like more of a curried, middle eastern flare to your foods?  Add some curry to the filling.  Prefer a sweeter type of filling?  Add a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon instead.  In short, use this as a base and make it your own.

Likewise, if you don't have the time or energy to make the dough yourself or maybe you find it too overwhelming; you can use wonton wrappers from your local supermarket instead and fill them just like you would your own pasta.

After having said all that, here's my recipe, the way I made it today.  You should certainly feel free to alter it in any way that makes it easier for you and represents the tastes YOU like!

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Ravioli Dough*
Rolling out the dough with the Kitchen Aid attachment (and
yes, my mixer has flames - that's about as macho as I get)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Thoroughly sift together all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and salt. On a clean surface, make a mountain out of flour mixture then make a deep well in the center. Break the eggs into the well and add olive oil. Whisk eggs very gently with a fork, gradually incorporating flour from the sides of the well. When mixture becomes too thick to mix with a fork, begin kneading with your hands.
  2. Knead dough for 8 to 12 minutes, until it is smooth and supple. Dust dough and work surface with semolina as needed to keep dough from becoming sticky. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest for an hour in the refrigerator.
  3. While the dough is resting, make the filling below, then continue with step 4.
  4. Roll out dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin to desired thickness. You want it to be fairly thin unless you like really thick, chewy pasta and in that case roll it a bit thicker.  
There are a lot of different ways to make the ravioli itself, depending on your preferences and if you're actually using dough you've rolled out or just using wonton wrappers.  

To make with homemade dough:
Making ravioli with the ravioli "mold"
  1. Lay the rolled section of dough out on a flat surface.
  2. Starting about 3/4 of an inch from the edge, place a tablespoon of the filling mixture.  
  3. Place another tablespoon of filling (again about 3/4 from the edge) about one inch from the first.
  4. Repeat this process for the length of your rolled out dough.
  5. Dip a pastry brush in a little water and wet the edges of the dough and in between each filling pile.
  6. Fold the dough over onto itself and press down the area between the fillings, gently making sure there are no air pockets.
  7. Using a knife, ravioli cutter or pizza cutter, cut the individual raviolis apart.
  8. Using either a crimper, a fork or simply your fingers, be certain the edges of each ravioli are completely sealed.
    Finished ravioli, ready to be cooked
  9. Place the completed ravioli onto a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Repeat until all the dough (or filling) is used.
  11. You can throw the baking sheet in the freezer, and once frozen, transfer the ravioli into a tightly sealed plastic bag. When you're ready to cook them, just place the frozen ravioli into the salted boiling water and cook for about four minutes or until they float to the top of the pan.
If using wonton wrappers: 
  1. Lay out six pieces, keeping the rest sealed inside the package or under a very lightly dampened paper towel so they don't dry out. 
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of squash mixture in the middle of each skin. 
  3. Dip a pastry brush in a little water and wet the edges of the skin. 
  4. Gently fold the square wrapper into a triangle, making sure the edges are securely closed and there are no air pockets inside. 
  5. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. 
  6. Before laying out another six wrappers, be careful to dry your work surface. This will help keep ravioli from sticking to the baking sheet. 
  7. Repeat this process until all the butternut squash mixture is used. 
  8. You can throw the baking sheet in the freezer, and once frozen, transfer the ravioli into a tightly sealed plastic bag.  When you're ready to cook them, just place the frozen ravioli into the salted boiling water and cook for about four minutes or until they float to the top of the pan.

Ready for the top layer of dough
*Okay, this is where I admit that I LIKE EASY!!  The easier the better!

I have "automated" several of these steps where possible.


For example, I use my breadmaker to make and knead the dough and it's BY FAR the best dough I've ever used for pasta when I do this.

I also use an attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer to roll out the dough and use this wonderful gadget (less than $14 and well worth if you are going to make ravioli often) for making the actual ravioli.

Filling
Butternut squash filling, ready to go

  • 2 cups butternut squash puree**
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 large shallots, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg, to taste
  1. Saute the shallots in the olive oil. You want them to be translucent and just starting to brown. About a minute before they are done (it should take approx. three minutes), add the garlic to the pan as well and let it cook. Remove from heat.
  2. In a food processor, combine the butternut squash puree, the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, rosemary and oregano.  Pulse a few times to blend well.  
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the shallots and garlic.  Mix well. 


The filling can actually be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated if you'd like to save time on the day you are putting the ravioli together.  In addition, I had quite a bit leftover since I had a very large squash I was roasting.  I simply froze the extra filling mixture and will use it the next time I want to make this.

Cubed butternut squash, tossed with olive oil ready for roasting

**You can use canned butternut squash
Roasted cubes, ready to be pureed
puree. If you can't find it, feel free to substitute canned pumpkin as it has a very similar flavor.

It's also VERY simple to make it at home.

  1. Peel a butternut squash, cut in half, and discard the pulp and seeds. 
  2. Cut into cubes.
  3. Toss cubes with a small amount of olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, tossing occasionally. 
  4. Let cool and put in a blender or food processor until smooth. A potato masher also works well if you prefer. 

That's it, you have butternut squash puree!





Sage Brown Butter Sauce

  • 1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup fresh sage leaves
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water (best if it's the water from cooking the ravioli)
  • 1/4 cup cream
    The Sage Brown Butter Sauce over the ravioli
  1. Melt the butter in a saut√© pan with the sage, over medium-low heat. 
  2. Once sage and butter start to get golden brown, add the pepper and the water little by little. 
  3. Keep stirring and adding water on a low flame until you have a creamy, velvety butter sauce. 
  4. Add the cream and continue to stir.
  5. If the sauce looks separated or too oily, add warm water; if too runny or too watery, keep on the fire and reduce. 
  6. Serve over the ravioli (including the sage leaves - the best part!) and enjoy!


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