What’s for Sunday Dinner – Butternut Squash Ravioli

Or I should say, what was for Sunday dinner!  I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted a Sunday dinner.  December sure was busy!  Since it’d been so long I wanted to do something special as well as use some of my Christmas gifts and decided to play with the ravioli press Cheryl gave me.  Also got to use the ricer.  As you can see they worked pretty well. 

We were having our friends Erik and Jen over for dinner so I made the ravioli the day before and froze them (probably didn’t have to) in order to relax all day Sunday and watch some football.  Also because I was nervous about my first foray into the realm of ravioli and wanted to leave plenty of time in case I had to fix anything or go to a plan C.  I’ve gotten pretty good at making the pasta dough, it’s an easy 3:2 ratio of flour to eggs, so the tricky part for me was figuring out a filling.  I wanted to make a simple one for my first go so I settled on using butternut squash.  It’s pretty inexpensive and you can make a lot of filling with just two squash (squashes? squish?).  Didn’t want to waste any cheese if I happened to mess up.  Then I had to decide on a sauce.  Could’ve gone with a brown butter/sage sauce but instead I opted to make a creamy gorgonzola sauce.  I thought the salty, sharp cheese would go well with the sweet squash filling.  It’s a pretty classic, no-brainer pairing which turned out to be a good choice.

I rolled the dough out to #7 on the machine.  I felt it might be too thin but everyone thought it was just right.  They came out very light, which I suppose is good when using a cream sauce.

One note on pasta dough, make sure you keep the sheets floured when making the ravioli.  They’ll pop off the tray much easier.  I dusted them a little on the parchment paper just to be safe so they wouldn’t stick.  You also need to make sure the ravioli are filled with enough mixture so there aren’t any air pockets.  I didn’t find I needed to use an egg wash on the edges.  These sealed well and running a rolling-pin along the edges of the form/tray and the middle worked great.  Another tip would be to roll out the sheets for each batch as you go along.  I wouldn’t roll out all the sheets at once.  Roll dough for one batch, make the ravioli.  Repeat.

This will make easily 4 dozen ravioli.  Actually, about 5 dozen now that I think about it since I scrapped batch that I mangled.

Pasta dough

  • 9 oz flour
  • 6 oz eggs (3 large eggs beaten)
  • Pinch of salt

Place flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle, add eggs and mix, adding small amounts of flour from the sides.  When all flour is incorporated remove dough from bowl and knead for 10 minutes.  Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for an hour.

Filling

  • 2 butternut squash (4-5 lbs)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Lemon zest from half a lemon
  • Salt to taste

Heat oven to 400°F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on baking sheet.  Cover with aluminum foil and put in oven.  Roast for 60 minutes or until fork tender.

Scoop out the squash meat and puree in a food processor/food mill/ricer.  Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest.  Salt to taste.  Mix well.  Put mixture in a large Ziploc bag.  Cut a corner off the bag.  Voila, instant disposable pastry bag.

Remove pasta dough from refrigerator and divide up into 4 equal sized pieces.  Take one piece and roll the dough out to #7 setting.  It should be big enough to make two pieces for the ravioli press (top and bottom).  Place one sheet on the tray and push the dough through the holes with the top piece of the press to form pockets for the filling.  Squeeze the filling into the pockets.  Place other sheet of pasta on top.  Press the edges down with your fingers to seal or use a rolling-pin (I did this, worked great on the tray edges).

Pop ravioli out of form, separate, and set aside on parchment paper.  Dust with flour or corn meal.  Repeat with remaining dough pieces.  You should be able to get another set of pasta sheets from the scraps too.

Gorgonzola cream sauce

  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 C white wine
  • 4 oz gorgonzola cheese
  • Nutmeg (optional

Simmer wine in a saucepan until reduced by half.  Add cream and reduce by a third.  Stir in cheese, make sure it all melts.  Add a dash of nutmeg if you want.  Serve.

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