The sound of jingle bells are heard ominously in the shopping mall. It must be near the holidays or at least somewhat after Halloween, when all the decorations start coming out. It’s been FOREVER since I last wrote. I originally wrote this draft two weeks ago, but I got tired halfway through the post (I like my sleep) and I procrastinated this post because the photos are horrendous.
I always make excuses for not writing, but it’s the truth! With Finals looming on the horizon, I have been overloaded with massive amounts of homework– reading a 400 page novel, writing my final 15 page draft of a short film, and four critical literature essays– one of which must exceed over 8 pages. Unfortunately this places blog writing at the bottom of the list, which is sad because I love writing on this blog. I can’t wait for winter break so I can finally focus on it.
Recently I have been eating squash, which I was never too fond of. I had this amazing Pumpkin Risotto the other day and it wasn’t that “squashy”. I’ve been wanting to make ravioli for a while, and it’s butternut squash season, so I thought, “Hey, what the heck. I’ll give it a go.” Thankfully I had a handsome cooking assistant who helped me with the process.
This recipe was really simple because it does not require special equipment– aside from the pasta maker, but that’s sort of a given, right? You basically stick this gooey goodness of maple and cinnamon on the squash and leave it in the oven for an hour. Then you mash it (with a fork) add in your ingredients, (we smashed the walnuts with a jar of walnuts. I thought it was ironic.) and stuff the ravioli! This filling could even work in a lasagna, manicotti, or those large pasta shells. We decided to place the ravioli in a broth, but I suggest making a sauce of brown butter, walnuts, and parmesan. I made the broth because it was easy and tasty, but after looking at the photos I realized broth does not photograph well. Also I would suggest serving these in a shallow bowl rather than what we had on hand.
Butternut Squash Ravioli in Broth
- FOR THE PASTA DOUGH:
- 2 Cups flour
- 3 Eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- FOR THE SQUASH
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup water
- FOR THE FILLING
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons crushed walnuts
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- FOR THE BROTH
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots (about 2)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider
For the Pasta Dough
- Make a mound in the middle of your clean work service with the flour.( I used a non-stick baking mat) Make a well with steep sides.
- Break the eggs into the well. Add the salt, and olive oil to the hollow center and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
- With your hands or a bench scraper continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little flour. (I had to use an extra 1/2 cup of flour at least)
- Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
- Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and set aside.
FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash, cut side up, in baking pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with syrup; dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Pour 1/2 cup water into bottom of pan. Bake until squash is tender, about 1 hour. Cool completely.
FOR THE FILLING
- Scoop out squash into bowl. Mash. Transfer 3/4 cup squash to medium bowl (reserve remaining squash for another use). Mix in ricotta, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 2 Tablespoons walnuts, 2 tablespoons parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
FOR THE BROTH
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large pan over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté 1 minute. Add stock and cider; simmer 8 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
FOR THE PASTA
- If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it’s not sticking.
- Place 1 level tablespoon filling in center of each cut ravioli. Brush edges with water; Place one cut pasta circle on top of the other, making a mini ‘pie’ shape. (Ravioli can be made 4 hours ahead. Arrange in single layer on foil-lined baking sheets dusted with flour. Cover and refrigerate.)
- Working in batches, cook ravioli in pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, divide ravioli among shallow soup bowls. Bring cider broth to simmer; ladle over ravioli. Top with shaved Parmesan.
Making the pasta dough is really simple; too simple if you ask me. Using two ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, you can create a fresh amazing dough that rivals the pastas in the restaurants.
I would suggest picking out a squash that is small, 1-2 pounds will be more than enough. You can always save the leftover squash and make yourself something delicious. Butternut squash risotto perhaps?
The roasted squash with brown sugar and maple syrup. It smelled so good.
A teaspoon of the filling is the perfect size. We used an empty wine glass to cut out the circle shape.
I’m going to be honest. This ravioli looks terrible. One thing about fresh pasta is that it takes a long time to make. At this point we were starving and knew the pictures would never give it any justice. I planned on making this again and reshooting it, but it’s been a couple of weeks and I just wanted to post something. So here. Sometimes ugly things are delicious on the inside.