Thursday, October 07, 2010

Squash Ravioli

Yes, you read that right. Squash. Ravioli. I made it! This is the first time I have attempted to make pasta from scratch. I think it would have been easier with a pasta machine... But, it turned out well! Doug - the ULTIMATE pasta snob - commented that it had a good consistency.  As I was making the squash filling, I was doubting myself. I've had this recipe from Family Fun magazine sitting forever waiting for fall to try it out. But why? What sounds good about squash and pasta?  It actually was good! Look at the linked article for pictures of each step.

2 cups butternut squash, rind removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (a small squash will be more than enough)
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/16 of dried - basically a couple gentle shakes)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
12 to 16 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced


Make the filling. Heat the oven to 350°. Arrange the squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast it until tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Allow the squash to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a medium-size bowl. Blend the squash with the milk, cheese, and nutmeg until it has a smooth, mashed potato–like consistency. Note: The squash can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Make the pasta. On a clean work surface, mound the flour and make a well in the center. In a small bowl, use a fork to lightly beat together the salt and the eggs. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the well. Using the fork, gently incorporate the flour into the egg mixture, a small amount at a time. With your hands and a spatula or dough scraper, work the dough until it pulls together into a smooth, pliable ball.

Halve the dough, then form each piece into a 1/2-inch-thick disk. Cover the disks with plastic wrap and set them aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface and halve each dough disk. Roll out one of the dough portions as thinly as you can (to about the thickness of a dime), then use a 2½-inch-diameter drinking glass, biscuit cutter, or cookie cutter to cut rounds from the dough. Arrange them in pairs. Repeat with the remaining dough. Each half disk should yield about 7 pairs of dough rounds.

Further thin the dough rounds by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger. Each round should increase in diameter by about 1/4 inch.

Use a pair of dough rounds to make each ravioli. With a pastry brush or your fingertips dipped in water, paint a 1/2-inch perimeter around one of the dough rounds. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of the squash filling into the center.

After filling the ravioli, press the other round of dough on top of it along the moistened edges. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges.

Bring two large pots of water to a boil (using two pots allows all the pasta to be cooked at once). Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sage and continue to cook the sauce until it's light brown and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Line a large plate with paper towels. Add half the ravioli to each pot of boiling water. The pasta will float to the top after 2 or 3 minutes, but continue cooking it until tender, about 15 minutes more (take one out and test its tenderness before draining an entire batch). When the ravioli are done, use a slotted spoon or spatula to scoop them out and transfer them to the paper towels to drain. To serve, place the ravioli on individual plates and drizzle them with a spoonful of the Herbed Butter Sauce. Sprinkle on more Parmesan, if you like. Makes about 30 ravioli.

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