Butternut Squash Ravioli
I have a confession to make: Fresh pasta has never been easy for me. In fact, there is one moment in particular that K will never let me live down. I once got so irritated with the pasta I was trying to make that I threw the dough across the kitchen (into the sink mind you). Ever since, K loves to tease me anytime I suggest that we have fresh pasta for dinner. Tonight was no exception; the "flying pasta" jokes were abundant as I searched for a recipe.
Given my history, I figured I would try a different recipe this time. Typically, I do the 2-3/4 cups of flour and 3 eggs recipe, but this time I decided to try the recipe from Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook (the most beautiful cookbook EVER!). His recipe calls for the following:
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp milk
This recipe turned out so silky smooth. Thank you, Thomas Keller! Since K loves butternut squash (and our neighborhood market happened to have some) we decided to have a very simple butternut squash ravioli with a butter sage sauce.
Usually, when I do this dish I just use the squash (or pumpkin) and some savory fresh herbs, but this time I wanted to add some ricotta cheese to add a little creaminess to the ravioli. Here's the recipe (serves 4):
1 butternut squash
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 sprig of rosemary (leaves only) chopped
1 sprig of thyme (leaves only)
10 sage leaves (more or less -- to taste)
1 Tbsp chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
zest of one lemon
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
dash of allspice
dash of ground clove
salt & pepper to taste
Carefully chop the butternut squash in half (lengthwise) and scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Slice the squash into 1/2" thick slices lengthwise and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Let squash coool until you can handle it without it burning your fingers. Once it is cool enough use a paring knife (or a spoon) to scoop-out the soft flesh from the skin. Place squash in a mixing bowl and discard the skin.
Add the allspice, ground clove, ricotta cheese, egg yolk, rosemary and thyme. Mix well with a fork until all ingredients are combined.
After mixing, kneading and rolling your pasta dough into thin sheets place about one teaspoon of the filling onto the center of the dough spaced about 1 inch apart. Once you have spooned the filling onto the pasta you can either brush the edges of the pasta sheet with water or egg wash to help seal the pasta (I use egg wash). Finally, fold the pasta in half lengthwise to cover the filling. Gently press down around the mounds of filling to remove any air bubbles that might have formed while folding. After sealing the pasta you can cut between the mounds with a knife or one of those handy pasta wheels.
Meanwhile heat a large pan with salted water until rapidly boiling. While the water is getting up to boil (and the pasta has been prepared) heat a skillet on medium heat and add butter, garlic and sage. Cook until the garlic is aromatic and the sage is just crispy (about 3 minutes).
Once the water is rapidly boiling add the ravioli and cook until they start bouncing at the top of the water (about 4-5 minutes). Gently remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place onto plate. Top with butter sage sauce, parsley and grated parmesan cheese.
What a delicate and rich little treat. Once you get the whole pasta making process down, the rest is simple and so rewarding. (Dough throwing not necessary.)