Nic gets pretty excited about winter squash- just last week he brought home 1 acorn squash, 1 butternut squash and 2 sugar pumpkins. I don’t know how many pounds of winter squash that is, suffice to say, it’s a lot. What does one do with so much squash? We had made soup the week before, and I get sick of roasted squash chunks pretty quickly. So we decided to embark on a great undertaking- ravioli.
My friend, Elsie, who is currently in Panama with the Peace Corps had gifted me a ravioli maker, one of few gadgets that has set idle in the kitchen cabinets, but one that I knew would make a marvelous afternoon activity.
the last time I pulled out the noodle maker machine, I remember thinking “I should do this more often.” Well, that was months ago, and now it’s fall and, since we’re trying to resist turning on the heat, spending more time in the kitchen is pretty effective at keeping the house comfortably warm.
The labor was pretty evenly divided- I made the pasta and Nic took care of the ravioli filling. Uncharacteristically for me, we hip-shot the filling by combining various amounts of winter squash, roasted hazelnuts, a garlic and leek sautee, and gorgonzola cheese.
Fresh pasta is in a category all on its own. I may have stated this before, but one of the small luxuries that I afforded myself in Portland was to purchase fresh pasta from Pastaworks, which they custom-cut to whatever width of noodle suits your fancy on any given day. Luckily, in Butte, America, there’s a little gem of a store called Front Street Market which makes the best Portobello mushroom ravioli in Montana. I make a point to stop there every time I drive through Butte. Fresh pasta is something I always think takes more time than it really does, not to mention the fact that it’s fun to operate the pasta crank.
Not wanting to drown or over-shadow the beautiful, pillowy ravioli in some unremarkable sauce, I sizzled sage leaves in butter, infusing the butter with the warmth of the sage and crisping the sage leaves into crunchy tidbits of deliciousness. It was quite the compliment.
Squash-Hazelnut Ravioli in Sage Butter.
To make pasta dough:
- 2 c flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
This is actually pretty fun, if you like getting eggy, doughy fingers. Mix the flour and salt into a mound on your countertops. Make a well and dump in the eggs. Working in small circles, begin to mix in the flour from edges of your flour/egg volcano. By keeping the walls of the volcano in-tact you have much more control over the mixing process. If a wall breeches, you might have a more frantic time mixing things together. Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end. If the dough feels too tough or doesn’t hold together with just 2 eggs, you can add some water.
Knead pasta dough for 5-10 minutes and then let sit for 15.
Roll out pasta to desired thickness (the thinner the better), or use your pasta maker to roll our sheets of dough.
- 1 sugar pumpkin
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 small leeks
- 1/2 c hazelnuts
- Gorgonzola cheese
Roast 1 pumpkin- slice pumpkin in half and discard seeds. Brush with oil and place face-down on a pan. Roast at 375 for 45 minutes or until a knife meets no resistance when stabbed.
While pumpkin is roasting, dice up 4 cloves of garlic and 2 small leeks and sautee in butter, seasoning with salt and pepper and whatever other spices your little heart desires.
In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until there are no large chunks, but not so small that you’ve got hazelnut meal. Toast hazelnuts in a pan until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Once Pumpkin has cooled sufficiently, scoop out the insides and mash thoroughly. Add hazelnuts, leek/garlic sautee and stir. Add gorgonzola to taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
I know there are cute little ravioli cutters that give you a crimped edge. You can do this or use one of these little ravioli presses- which seemed to me to be a little bit time-intensive. A generous teaspoon of filling seems to do the trick as far as volume goes. Place ravioli on a sheet pan to dry a little bit and so they don’t get stuck together.
Grease a pie plate and preheat oven to 200.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
In a separate small saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter over med-low heat and add 10-12 chopped sage leaves. Let simmer until milk solids are brown (do not burn!) and sage is crispy.
Add 6-8 ravioli at a time, boiling for about 4 minutes or until they float and look and feel like little pillows. As batches of ravioli are cooked, add to pie plate and drizzle lightly with oil (or sage butter) so that each raviolo (singular of ravoili) does not stick to other ravioli. Repeat until you have enough cooked ravioli to feed your dinner party. Drizzle sage butter over ravioli, distributing sage leaves evenly.