Sunday, November 22, 2009

butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage

I started writing this post quite awhile ago, but saved it as a draft, and then forgot about it for awhile, so I thought I should finish it and actually make a new post.

When I worked at Campanile, every once in awhile, we would have butternut squash ravioli on the menu. Every time that we did, I always ate them. These are one of my favorite ravioli! Lately, Justin and I have been on a fresh pasta making kick, so I thought I would try to recreate my favorite Campanile ravioli.

1. take a small-medium sized butternut squash. cut it in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. season with salt and pepper, a few pats of butter, and a couple of sage leaves. stick them in the oven until they are soft and tender and generally roasted looking.
2. take the squash out of the oven and let it cool for a minute. soon after it comes out of the oven, take a fork or a spoon, or whatever device works for you, and remove the squash from the skin. This should be pretty easy, but be careful it is hot! put this in a bowl aside while you make the fresh pasta.
3. fresh pasta is a basic ratio of 1 egg for every 100 grams of flour plus a pinch of salt. 2 or 3 eggs should probably be enough. you can always add more flour, this ratio is a starting point, not an exact measurement, it will depend on the size of the eggs that you use. make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. starting with a fork, scramble the eggs, slowly adding flour from the sides. When this is too thick to mix with the fork, it is time to get your hands dirty. start mixing in more flour and kneading with your hands until the dough is a nice smooth consistency, but not sticky.
4. cover the pasta dough with a kitchen towel and set aside. now go back to the squash. I added a small tub of ricotta cheese to the squash and also a few sage leaves chopped up. mix this well until it is smooth.
5. you can roll the pasta out with a pasta machine (easiest), a rolling pin, or if you are in a pinch, you can use an empty wine bottle (my choice). if using a pasta machine, roll it to number 6, if by hand, roll it as thin as you can. make the ravioli by placing a little spoon full of the filling on the pasta, folding it over, pressing around the filling to close it, then cutting around it in your desired shape. 6. the hard part is done. I served these ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce. brown butter is basically burnt butter. when the fat solids from the butter start to cook, they will produce a really nice nutty flavor that goes with butternut squash really nicely. so, take some butter, put it in a saucepan, and let it burn. don't let it get too hot that it is smoking, you want it brown, not black, and you can use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to get the solids moving around. turn off the heat and throw a few sage leaves in. you can also add a little bit of the pasta cooking water to make it a little saucier, not just butter.
7. boil the ravioli in salted water. they will only take a few minutes, because this is fresh pasta. spoon the ravioli right into the sauce, and serve with a shaving of cheese.

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