Monthly Archives: January 2017

Butternut squash ravioli

One of the things I wanted in our new kitchen island was enough of a counter overhang to stably clamp our hand crank pasta machine so I could try making fresh pasta. This is actually the second attempt – the first was used for making Carbonara, and it worked pretty well despite some improvisational changes to the dough mid-stream, but I didn’t blog it.  I was trying to use some old semolina flour we had in the pantry, but the eggless recipe on the bag didn’t work, so I added that dough to dough made with AP flour and eggs. The result was tasty but made too much pasta for the two of us and I couldn’t reproduce it if I tried.

There are many recipes for butternut squash ravioli online, and a lot of different ways to do the different steps. Sage brown butter sauce is popular (but I didn’t have any fresh sage on hand)

Basically, the plan is

  • Roast the squash
  • Make the dough while the squash is roasting
  • Make the filling while the dough is resting
  • Roll the dough and assemble
  • Cook and serve

Roast the squash

butternut squash

roasted butternut squash

There seem to be two broad schools for roasting the squash, which can be divided into peel before and peel after. If peeling before, it’s roasted as chunks/cubes. I decided to go with peel after. Cut a butternut squash in half. Salted the exposed surfaces, coated with olive oil, and roasted at 375F for about an hour. Threw in some unpeeled garlic cloves about 15 minutes from the end.

I scooped out/peeled the result, weighed out a pound and kept the rest as leftovers for another use.

Make the dough

After my improvisation in the unblogged pasta experiment, I decided to go with a 0.5x version of the Serious Eats classic fresh egg pasta.

  • 1 c AP flour
  • 1 egg + 2 yolks (and some of the separated white)
  • 1.5 tsp salt

I did this in a food processor instead of in the classic pile of flour with a well for the eggs on a surface.  Yes, cleaning the food processor is an issue, but the cats don’t try to crawl into it. Initially the mix was too dry to come together, so I added back about 1 egg’s worth of the egg white I had separated out. Packed into a ball and left to rest.

Make the filling

  • 1 lb roasted squash
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 0.5 onion sauteed in oil from the roasted squash
  • 0.3 c toasted pine nuts
  • 0.5 parmesan cheese, microplaned
  • Salt and pepper
  • ~1 egg white (left over from making the pasta dough)

Process it except the egg white, adjust seasoning, process in the egg white as a binder. Some recipes have eggs and others don’t. Since I had the extra white anyway, I threw it in. The filling was pretty tasty, but I forgot to add nutmeg, which might have been nice, and I think it was a bit on the wet side.

Roll the dough and assemble

pasta machine and dough

Pasta machine and rested dough

The side of our island away from the stove has a depression where we will eventually put some stools. This give an overhang of the quartz countertop that can be used for clamp-on kitchen gadgets.

ravioli assembly

Assembling the ravioli

The pasta machine is an Mercato Ampia* that I’ve had for over 20 years. I haven’t used it that much because it was a pain to find a place to clamp it. When I did use it, it was to make flat noodles. I’ve been a bit intimidated by trying filled pasta.

I rolled the dough several times through the widest setting and then successively through the narrower ones. I cut it in half when it got longer than the cutting board. I didn’t go all the way to the thinnest setting.

ravioli cooking

Cooking the ravioli

butternut squash ravioli

Butternut squash ravioli with expired sage brown butter and peas.

0.5 Tb of filling was scooped using a measuring spoon (we actually have one for that volume now). I brushed around the filling with water, folded the dough over and pushed the filling under the dough to form a central lump, trying to get rid of any trapped air. This is definitely something where I need practice. I’m also wondering if it’s easier to use two sheets instead of folding over one.

One lesson: a pound of squash is way too much for the amount of pasta I made.

Debby cooked the ravioli while I made a brown butter with some dried rubbed sage of indeterminate age and added some frozen peas for a vegetable and to quench the heat on the brown butter.  3 minutes past flotation was the target for cooking. Only one leaked!

The sage flavor didn’t really come through at all, but overall it was a very good dish that could still be improved. To my taste, the brown butter sauce is really rich and I might prefer these in a chicken stock in a style like tortellini in brodo.

I’m certainly encouraged to experiment more with pasta.

* The machine I have appears to be discontinued. The one at the link is wider, I think. And much more expensive.