Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 31: Winter Squash Ravioli

Tonight I'm making Winter Squash Ravioli with a cream and brown butter sauce garnish with Romano cheese and toasted walnuts -- sounds yummy!  I broke the prep work for tonight's meal into three steps.  You can read about there here, here, and here.

Update:  The ravioli was a breeze to cook, and had a nice firm texture.  I really love this pasta.  The filling was good, and it was surprising sweet from the butternut squash.  The sauce was a bit of a disappointment.    Actually it never really came together as a sauce -- just tasted like warm cream and butter, and it was really thin.  I served the ravioli on a bed of spinach.  Overall everything tasted really good, and I can't wait to make ravioli again -- maybe next time I'll make a more traditional ricotta and cheese ravioli with red sauce.

Winter Squash Ravioli
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  About 30 ravioli; served 4 to 6.

2 recipes Egg Pasta
1 butternut squash weighing at least 1 1/2 pounds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 to 5 sage leaves, chopped
about 1/2 cup dry jack or Romano cheese, grated
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups light cream
4 tbsp clarified butter
Few drops balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, shelled

     Prepare the pasta dough and set it aside to rest.
     Preheat the oven to 375.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and brush the surface with some of the olive oil.  Season it with salt and pepper and bake, cut side down, until it is completely soft. Scoop out the meat, and pass it through a food mill.  Cook briefly to dry it out:  Warm the rest of the oil in a skillet with the garlic and the sage leaves until they are aromatic, taking care not to brown the garlic.  Add the squash and cook, stirring frequently, until it is fairly dry, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the type of squash used.  Remove it from the heat and season it with several tablespoons of the cheese, salt and pepper, and half the parsley.  Make sure the filling is cool or at room temperature before forming the ravioli.
     When the dough has rested and you are ready to make the ravioli, have at hand a spray bottle of water, or a bowl of water and a pastry brush, as well as a ravioli cutter.  Roll the pasta to the thinnest setting on your machine and cut the final pieces into lengths that are easy to handle, about 12 to 18 inches long.
     Lightly dust each strip of pasta with flour, and set the strips on top of one another  Work with one strip at a time, and cover the others with a kitchen towel.  Lay the pasta on a lightly floured surface, fold to make a line, then open it up.  Using the line as a guide, place rounded tablespoons of the squash filling just below the line, leaving at least 2 inches between each spoonful.  Spray a fine mist over the pasta or paint a strip of water around the edges and between each spoonful of filling.  Roll the top half of the pasta over the filling.  Press between each ravioli to form a seal, forcing out the air as you do so; then press around the bottom and sides of the strip.  Use a ravioli cutter to finally seal and separate each ravioli; then set the finished squares onto a floured baking sheet.  If they are not to be cooked right away, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.  If the filling is not too wet, they should keep well this way for several hours.
     Roast the nuts in a 350 oven for 5 to 8 minutes, and then chop them finely.
     When you are ready to cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and while it is heating, make the sauce.  Combine the cream and the clarified butter in a wide skillet, bring to a boil, and reduce until slightly thickened.  Stir in the remaining parsley, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add a few drops of the vinegar.  salt the pasta water and add the ravioli.  Cook them at a gentle boil until they are done, about 2 to 4 minutes (sample a corner of one); then scoop them out and add them to the pan with the cream.  Slide the pan back and forth a few times to coat them with the sauce.  Serve garnished with additional cheese, freshly milled pepper, and the roasted nuts.  For wine, consider a medium-bodied zinfandel or a Cotes-du-Rhone.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the home-made pasta. The cream sauce was thin, as Ann said, but it was tasty. The idea to serve it over raw spinach was great. We even had left-overs the next day (lunch), and again, it was delicious!