Sunday, 9 November 2014

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Ravioli


This is delicious combination of Ricotta cheese and butternut squash served simply with good olive oil, some pine nuts and fresh sage leaves. If you do not have a ravioli form these can easy be made with a cookie cutter or even a glass to cut the ravioli. I have also added a bit of semolina to the dough to add some texture but you can make a smooth dough by using all flour and omitting the semolina or cornmeal. These can be frozen perfectly for a rainy day when you want something quick.

You will need:

  • 1 small butternut squash - roasted for 40 minutes - then pureed or squished- puree =1 3/4 cup
  • 1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup ricotta (drained for 1 hour or pressed in a paper towel)
  • 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 fresh sage leaves (chopped fine)
Pasta Dough
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup semolina or fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
Once ravioli cooked add to pan:
  • more best quality extra virgin olive oil finishing in pan (you could also add a bit of butter if you like)
  • few leaves of fresh sage
  • salt and pepper 
  • fresh grated Parmesano Reggiano
  • a sprinkle of pine nuts (as much as you like or just a tbsp per serving)



Step 1: Take a small butternut squash and slice into a few large pieces. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and cover with foil. Roast at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes - 1 hour depending on the size of the squash. You want the squash to be very soft once cooked. I don't remove seeds or skin until the squash is cooked. I scoop out seeds (which you can roast and salt) and then scoop out the very soft flesh. I discard the skin.


Step 2: in a small bowl add the squash and puree easily with a fork. You do not want the squash too wet so roasting is better than boiling it. If you find the squash very wet you can press in a paper towel or clean tea towel. You are looking for an end product that is like a thick paste.


Step 3: add salt (mine is grey salt but, any kind you like is fine)


Step 4: add a few scrapes of fresh nutmeg.


Step 5: add the ricotta cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. If your ricotta is very wet you can drain it for 1 hour in a sieve or press in a cloth/ or paper towel to remove most of the water.  The squash has water in it and you do not want the filling too wet. You can also add more cheese!


Step 6: add about a tbsp of chopped sage leaves. Put in fridge while you make the pasta.


Step 7: add the pasta ingredients into a food processor. You can add the semolina or omit it entirely. If you omit it add the 1/4 cup equivalent in flour to the recipe. The "all flour" dough is a much smoother, fine dough.


Step 8: process until it starts to form a ball (maybe 15 seconds)


Step 9: take ball out of processor and with a bit of flour form a nice smooth ball. Knead it for a minute or two to get a nice smooth ball.


Step 10: wrap the dough and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.


Step 11: remove from fridge and cut ball in half and then each piece into 4 = 8 even pieces.


Step 12: flour each piece and start to run through the largest setting on a pasta roller (of course you can roll this by hand with a bit more effort!)


I run the dough through a few settings. You do not want it too thin or the filling will break open when cooking the ravioli.


Step 13: roll out 2 sheets and place one on the bottom of a generously floured ravioli form (I just got this one and I love it!) I used to make them by placing one sheet on the bottom and placing spoonfuls in the same kind of order then placing the next sheet on top and pressing in between and either cut with a knife to make squares or use a small glass to form round ravioli.


This press has a need form to make the ravioli.


Step 14: add a teaspoon of filling to each hole. I add a bit of water around each  by dipping my finger in a glass of water.


Step 15: place top sheet on ravioli and take a rolling pin to seal and cut each. I love the open bottom to this mold so you get nice fat ravioli. Remove excess dough around edges. Flip mold and knock on counter for ravioli to release from mold.


Step 16: toss in lots of flour and place on a plate or sheet to be frozen individually. Do not let them touch while freezing.


Step 17: once frozen put them in a Ziploc bag. They can be removed and boiled frozen right from the bag when you want to cook them.


Step 1: to cook: boil a few ravioli in salted water at a rolling boil. Wait until they float to the top and cook 1 minute. In a saute pan add a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. I used a lovely Tuscan variety called Viola Sincero which is a Moraiolo oil that is a nice medium oil with a nice peppery finish.


Step 2: add some buttery pine nuts and toast for a minute or two until just starting to brown. I keep the pine nuts in the freezer since nuts go rancid easily if left out. Add some fresh sage leaves. They will fry and get nicely crisp. Cook 1 minute.


Step 3: add your cooked ravioli to the pan and cook another minute.


Serve with a generous shaving of Parmesan or Pecorino and don't forget the salt and pepper!





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