Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage

I went a little pasta crazy last weekend, which is unusual for me because I don't really like pasta that much. But the idea of making butternut squash ravioli got in my head and wouldn't leave, so I decided to give it a go. I wasn't sure if it would work because I don't have a pasta machine, but I'm glad I made it, as it was delicious! I went really simple with my recipe and resisted the urge to add garlic, although if I ever make it again I think I will put some garlic in there.

I looked around a various pasta recipes, and looked at what I had in my cabinet, and here's what I came up with:

Makes 8 large ravioli (serves about 3)

For the filling:

1/2 large butternut squash
1 tsp olive oil

For the Pasta

2 eggs
2 cups flour (I used all purpose because that's what I had)
1 tsp salt
olive oil (I just did a glug into the bowl, it was probably around a tablespoon)

For the Sage Fun

4-5 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the innards (you can save the seeds for roasting, just like pumpkin seeds!) and brush the cut sides with the olive oil and sprinkle on a bit of pepper. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until it's really soft.

Right after you put that sucker in the oven, you should make your dough. Combine everything except for the water in a bowl (or you can put the flour on your counter and make a well in the middle for your wet ingredients. I didn't do this but I'm intrigued by the idea) and mix it up. Now add the water, a tablespoon full at a time, until the dough starts to come together but isn't too wet--it will look kind of crumbly. I added only 3 tablespoons to this recipe. Dump it out on a clean surface, shmoosh it into a ball, and start kneading. Get ready to be bored, because you have to knead that sucker for about 10 minutes, until it's smooth and elastic. Once it looks nice and smooth, form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let it sit for at least an hour so that it looses some elasticity and you will be able to roll it out.

When the squash is nice and soft, let it cool for a little bit and then remove the skin. It should come right off. Put it in a bowl and mash it with a potato masher (or you could use a food processor, but I was too lazy to get it out, and really, it's not worth it because it's not hard to get the squash smooth) until smooth, which will take just a minute or two. Season it with the cinnamon and nutmeg to taste--I just used a tiny bit of each.

Now it's time to roll out your dough. You can tell if it's been sitting long enough by poking it. If an indentation stays, it's ready. If it springs back, it's not. Once it's ready, cut the ball in half, form each half into a rectangle, and roll them out suuuuper flat, and to approximately the same size. Rumor has it pasta dough dries out quickly, so keep the dough you're not working with covered. The rolling portion of the night will take a bit of time and patience (when using a rolling pin), because it turns out pasta dough is springy, even after sitting.

Once you have your two pieces rolled out, put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Then find what you are going to cut your ravioli with--I used a glass. You could use anything that's the appropriate size, a round or square cookie cutter would work also. I made little marks with the glass on the dough so I could see how many ravioli I could fit on the sheet, and then put about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each mark. Lay the other sheet on top, carefully pressing around the edges of the filling. Cut it out with your glass, and pinch the edges shut.

Once the water is boiling, put the ravioli in (I did 4 at a time, don't crowd 'em!) and cook it for about 4-5 minutes. Fresh pasta cooks fast! When they're done, scoop them out of the pot and set aside.

In a large skillet (or wok if your skillet is dirty and you're too lazy to wash it), heat the butter or oil and the sage until the sage gets all wilty. Throw the ravioli in (again, I did 4 at a time) and toss to coat, cooking for just a minute or two. When you're done, this is what you'll have:

Yum! They were really good, and the simple recipe definitely leaves room for experimentation.   

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