For some crazy reason on Friday afternoon, after a morning of editing lots of photos, I decided that I wanted to make something fun for dinner that evening. I had gotten a new cookbook a month or two ago with a random giftcard I had, and I'd been meaning to make something from it. This cookbook is quite the hefty tome, so while I'd paged through it and read good reviews before I made the purchase, I hadn't really gotten into any of the recipes.
Over lunch I decided pasta sounded good, and this recipe looked perfect. I've been wanting to make my own pasta since forever, but have never gotten around to it, so I figured what the heck?
You guys. OMG. This was THE. BEST. DINNER. I have made ever. in my life. Both Alex and I agreed this was fantastic. I was thoroughly proud of myself after making all the pasta from scratch as well! Other then Christmas Ostrich, and I suppose orchestrating an entire Thanksgiving feast in a square foot Brooklyn kitchen, it's certainly one of fanciest dinners I've crafted. This is not an easy weeknight meal, but if you're looking to impress, or just spend some loving time in the kitchen, this dish is for you. It took me a good couple hours to pull this off, but the reward was well worth it. :-)
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pecans and Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison
(Serves 2-3, about 14 large raviolis. However, I had lots of leftover filling. If you made more pasta and this could go way farther)
1 butternut squash
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs butter, softened
2 cups flour
2 tsp olive oil
6-8 TBS butter (I went for the full stick. Butter makes everything better. :-) )
2 TBS freshly chopped parsley
3 TBS freshly chopped sage leaves
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans (you can toast them if you like, I didn't)
Start by roasting the squash. Slice it half, scoop out the seeds, brush with olive oil, then roast cut side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 375 until tender, about 45 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, prep the pasta. I don't own a pasta maker, or a large enough food processor, so I made this stuff the old fashioned way, completely by hand with lots of muscle. :-) If you have the technology, go for it. But, if you're like me... On a clean counter or cutting board, place flour in a mound and then make a bowl in the center. Add the eggs and olive oil and a pinch of salt. Then using a fork and then gradually hands, gently fold things together and work in the flour. Keep kneading until all the flour is combined. Work the dough into a ball and then place in a plastic bag to rest in the fridge 10-15 minutes at least. After the dough has rested, roll it out as thin as you can get it. I did mine in sections so it would stay cool. Once it's rolled out, I used a small juice glass to cut out the ravioli circles.
To make the filling:
Once the squash is roasted and cooled, scoop out two cups worth of squash. Beat together ( I used an immersion blender to get it nice and smooth) with 2 TBS butter and season with salt and pepper, then add in the cheese and bread crumbs.
To fill the ravioli, add a spoonful to a pasta circle, top with another, then seal with your fingers and a bit of water.
Sauce: Add the butter, herbs, and shallot and garlic to a deep sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, continuously stirring while the butter cooks. Continue to heat until it lightly browns. Once the butter browns, add the pecans and continue to cook another minute or two.
While the sauce cooks up, cook the raviolis in a pot of gently boiling salted water about 4-5 minutes. Drain carefully.
Add the raviolis to the sauce, cook another 30 seconds or two. Serve topped with freshly chopped parsley, a few extra pecans, and fresh grated cheese.
Enjoy with some tasty wine! Happy dining! :-)