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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Roasted winter squash and walnut ravioli with sage brown butter

Now that you've memorized the pasta dough recipe we featured yesterday, we thought we'd follow up with a delicious recipe to showcase the dough as well as some seasonal fall ingredients.  Don't be afraid to make dough from scratch. It's basically like playing with play-dough except you can eat it (without getting in trouble). This recipe makes about 5 dozen ravioli. If you have leftover filling you can freeze it or save it in the fridge for about a week. The sauce is enough to coat about 2 dozen ravioli, or 3-4 servings.

If you're looking for variations, Sortachef makes one with chanterelle mushrooms. He even roasts his squash in a wood-fired pizza oven! Now where can I get one of those... 

For the filling: 
3 small winter squash
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 egg
3 cloves garlic
300 g container ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt (or more as needed)
pepper to taste
2 tsp walnut oil
1 cup toasted walnuts

For the dough:
See our previous post for the pasta dough recipe

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut squash in half and remove seeds and drizzle with oil. Lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add about 1/2 cup of water. Roast for 1 hour until the skin can easily be pierced and the squash is tender. Let cool.
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Scoop squash out of the skin and into the food processor. Add the egg, garlic, ricotta, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and walnut oil. Puree until smooth. Combine with the walnuts and adjust the seasoning as required. 

Roll out the pasta dough into sheets using a pasta roller or rolling pin. If using a pasta roller I usually stop one setting short of the thinnest as I find otherwise the dough is too thin and will tear. Use your judgement as every pasta roller is different. Try to make the sheets as even as possible. Place them on a sheet of parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the counter (this method seems to work better than flouring the surface of the counter). 

Evenly space 1/2 tablespoon dollops of the filling onto one sheet of dough. Each spoonful should be about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Lay a second sheet of dough over the first and gently press down around the filling with your fingertips to remove any air pockets and seal the dough. Use a pasta wheel or sharp knife to divide into individual ravioli. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch border around each ball of filling. 

Melt the butter in a large pan on medium heat. Tear the sage leaves into pieces and add them to the butter. Heat the butter and sage mixture until it is lightly browned and smells nutty. 

In the meantime, add 2 dozen ravioli to a large pot of salted, boiling water. Gently stir. Let cook until the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon. Transfer to the pan of butter and sage along with 1/4 cup of the pasta water and the toasted walnuts. Toss to coat and serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. 

Occasionally a few of the ravioli will burst when cooking. Don't fret! This is pretty standard. You can serve these ravioli casualties to the people you don't like. 

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