I sincerely love fall. It’s by far the best season (in my humble opinion ;) )
I’d love to be able to point at one individual aspect of fall that makes it so incredible, but really it’s cumulative effect of gorgeous deep colors, spicey smells, and crisp mornings.
That said, butternut squash always reminds me of autumn. How can it not? Look at that gorgeous orange color, and the association with cinnamon/nutmeg/butter. Mmm.
Let’s make some butternut squash ravioli, shall we?
Start with about three cups of squash. These are cubed but not identical in size. I drizzled olive oil to coat, and tossed with a little salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven at 375 until they smell fantastic and are soft/caramelized on the outside.
While those are roasting, let’s make the pasta dough. Here I’m adding in 3 cups all purpose flour, and one teaspoon of salt.
Add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
And then you’re going to need four eggs, added one at a time while your stand mixer is running. (use the dough hook)
Ok, so; I was using Tyler Florence’s recipe for this dough (largely because I have a huge crush on the guy) and when I turned it out onto the counter, I found it slightly dry. I added in two tablespoons of cold water and that fixed the problem. These things are very finicky and have a lot to do with the moisture content in your home, so go by feel.
I kneaded the dough by hand for about 5-8 minutes until it felt very elastic-y, and then wrapped it in plastic wrap and popped it into the fridge for an hour.
Now, once the butternut squash is done, remove from the oven and let it cool a tad. Saute together about half an onion (I used white) and when it’s just starting to brown a tad, add in two cloves of garlic. Only let the garlic saute until it begins to be really fragrant; about a minute. Remember to season each step of the way, so add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Once the saute is good to go, turn off the heat and add in the butternut squash mixture. Just incorporate all the ingredients together in the pan, and add in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
So, I’ve had my share of bad ravioli in my life. And part of the problem is when the filling is wayyyy too dense to properly compliment that lovely, fluffy, eggy dough that surrounds it. So, to combat that, I pureed the whole mess of butternut squash + onion + garlic until gorgeous and smooth, AND THEN folded it in with some whipped cream.
There’s an association with whipped cream and dessert – but really there’s no reason why it can’t be used in savory application too. I added in two pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and also a pinch of cinnamon to the cream. Whip a cup of cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Now, gently fold the two together.
Once all the squash and cream are nice and combined, taste it. Does it taste a little too sweet for you? Too bland? Do you want to taste more cinnamon? Adjust accordingly. I added in more cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
Now, roll the dough out. If you have a pasta machine then use that. I did it by hand (read: my friend had to do it because I’m altogether too weak) until it was about 1/8th of an inch thick.
Now, pick a shape of ravioli you want! I wanted rounds. I think they’re so pretty and girly. However, with the rest of the dough I later made half-moon shapes and those were successful too. Now, place a dollop of that filling into the center of the dough. *ALWAYS* go with less than you think you need; take it from me, it gets messy otherwise. This here is probably a little too much. I’m sure I paid for that.
Then, I put another round on top, and made sure to smooth out any air bubbles with my fingertips. Then, crimp the edges with a fork.
Drop the raviolis into a pot of boiling, salted water until they float to the surface. Then remove and set aside while you brown the butter!
Take a good hunk of butter (I used a few tablespoons here) and heat it over low heat on your stovetop. You’re waiting for it to turn brown; brown butter is a completely different animal, and it is utterly delicious. There’ll be a moment when it justttt starts to turn, and all of a sudden the smell will change from the ordinary butter smell you recognize, to a nutty, almost shortbread-y smell. At that point, drop in a few teaspoons of freshly chopped sage. Let them crisp up for about 15 seconds.
Now, take the reserved, cooked ravioli and toss in the sauce. Use tongs and divide them up among your plates. Drizzle any leftover sauce on the ravioli, with any lone bits of sage still in the pan!
Ravioli Dough; Thanks Tyler Florence! Call me sometime.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yolk for egg wash
- In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt. Add eggs 1 at a time and continue to mix. Drizzle in oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. ***here I added in 2 tablespoons of cold water to moisten the dough a little more.
- Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at its widest setting. Guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. *Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick
- Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta. Brush the top surface of dough with egg wash. Drop 1 tablespoon of cooled filling about 2-inches apart on half the sheet of pasta. Fold the unfilled half over the filling. With an espresso cup or fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal. Use a crimper to cut each pillow into squares. Check to make sure the crimped edges are well sealed before cooking. If making ravioli in advance, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking
- ****so, in Tyler’s final step of instructions here, he suggests that after you fill the ravioli you need to boil them for 10-15 minutes or “until they float to the top.” However…..for me, the ravioli were cooked through around 4-5 minutes (I simply waited for them to float) so that time seems *very* off to me. Additionally, every other pasta recipe/ravioli recipe I’ve read suggests somewhere around the 4-6 minute mark. So…yah. I’m confused. I can’t explain it, but like I said, my ravioli only needed around 4-5 minutes.
Butternut Squash Filling
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash
- olive oil
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- preheat your oven to 375. Put the cubed squash into a pan and drizzle liberally with olive oil until coated. Season it with salt and pepper and don’t be afraid to be generous . Add in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg (fyi, a pinch is 1/8th of a teaspoon). Roast until the edges are caramelized and the squash is very soft; I believe this took about 35 minutes for me. It does depend on your oven, however, so just check on it. Toss it a couple times throughout the process. Take it out and set it aside when it’s done.
- Over medium-low heat, saute the onion until it begins to soften, and then add in the garlic until it’s fragrant (about 1 minute more). Then, add back in the squash. I added in another pinch of cinnamon after tasting it, and more often than not you’ll have to add in more salt and pepper to every step of the way. But taste it, to be sure.
- Puree the whole mess (I used a hand held guy, but you can use a food processor)
- Now, whip the whipped cream. Add in another pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper as it’s whipping. Then, fold the puree and the cream together until it’s light and airy, but totally incorporated. Taste again. This is your finished product so you want to make sure it tastes totally delicious now, because it won’t suddenly become delicious after it’s in the ravioli. Do you think it needs more cinnamon or nutmeg? Salt or pepper? Etc.
- Assemble your ravioli!
Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- Few tablespoons of butter (probably 3-4, depends on how much of the ravioli you’re making at once.)
- 2-3 teaspoons of fresh sage, lightly ripped (I didn’t bother chopping because I love getting the large bites of crisp sage)
- Heat the butter over medium-low. Watch it carefully. There is a fine line between brown butter and black butter; the latter being far less tasty. As soon as it begins smelling different (nutty and fabulous) and you can see the color change, toss in the sage for another 15-20 seconds. Then, take off the heat and immediately coat the ravioli in it.