While I was putting together my list of upcoming recipes that I am planning to post, I found myself leaning towards a lot of pasta recipes. Being that pasta is probably THE standby Italian dish, it's no real surprise. And I'm not just referring to a standard plate of Sunday pasta with gravy and meatballs. Pasta can be a very versatile ingredient in many creative dishes. So it was an easy decision to make a special Pasta category on my blog. Just as The Mamma Meets the Cucina, Family Recipes, and Guest Recipe with Emma appears every few weeks, I will now start to highlight a special pasta dish under the banner The Pasta Dish. This special section will feature a variety of topics and recipes, such as: home made pasta recipes, creative pasta sauces and toppings, and links to some of my favorite celebrity pasta dishes (and I have quite a few of them bookmarked!). I hope you get as much enjoyment reading the new section as I do posting it.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI
Served with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
Today's dinner was extra special. Aside from getting to use one of my favorite vegetables incorporated into one of my favorite pastas, my daughter Julianna was very eager to help me roll out the pasta. Spending time in the kitchen with family is always a special occasion, and getting to have my daughter to help out and share in the fun is always a bonus.
I found a good recipe for butternut squash ravioli filling. The most time consuming part is baking the squash in order to purée it, and you can do this ahead of time. After that it's just mixing a few key cheese ingredients and letting it sit while you roll out a basic pasta dough. We used a ravioli stamper to press out the ravioli shapes, but I'm sure that many of you – like myself – have stories of our grandmothers using a juice glass to press out the ravioli.
I used Mario Batali's brown butter and sage recipe for a quick and complimentary sauce, adding some toasted pine nuts as a final touch. Delicious, filling and lots of fun. Three key ingredients to a successful meal!
For the ravioli
3lb Butternut Squash
3/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Salt, to taste
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
Slice squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds and pulp, place cut side down in a baking dish filled with a bit of water. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Let cook, scoop out flesh, purée. Add cheeses, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, blend. Add breadcrumbs, blend. Cover and set aside in refrigerator.
Next, make a basic pasta dough – you will need 2lbs of dough, which is approx. 4 cups of flour and 4 eggs. This will make approximately 28 ravioli.
When pasta is rolled out, place one sheet of dough on piece of wax paper. Mark the dough where you will be making the ravioli cuts. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each expected cut. Place a second sheet of dough on top (you may need to lightly brush the second sheet with an egg wash if the dough has dried out to help the sheets stick together). Press out the ravioli with a ravioli cutter.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the ravioli to the water and cook 4-5 minutes.
For the sauce
4 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a 12 to 14-inch saute pan and continue cooking until golden brown color appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter. Add sage leaves and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and set aside. Drain the pasta, but leaving a small amount of cooking water, and gently pour into saute pan and return to heat. Add the cheese and toasted pine nuts, toss to coat and serve immediately.