Gourmet at home

24 Sep

We are starting to establish some new routines in our casa, namely fancy dinners on Saturday night and brunch on Sunday morning. We’ve done brunch a few weekends in a row now (and I’ll post more about it tomorrow), but our finer-dining Saturdays are technically too new to call them regular. Instead, I’m putting it out to the universe to keep conditions clear for more gourmet dinners at home in the coming weekends.

Our kick-off event was this past Saturday. I made Butternut Squash Ravioli from scratch for the first time, and it was a huge success!

It was a bit time-consuming, but the process was a ton of fun, so I took photos for documentation. Here’s the recipe:

Filling:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: cheese or nutritional yeast to taste

Pasta dough:

  • 1 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of water

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Lightly oil the cut side and place both halves face down on a baking sheet (I recommend one with sides, in case of oozing). Bake for 30+ plus minutes, until tender. Mine got nicely browned on the cut sides, which I like. Set aside.

While the squash is cooling, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Now add the olive oil and the water. You can either mix and knead with your hands or using a stand mixer. My Kitchenaid is my only fancy kitchen appliance, and it’s perfect for making dough. I start out with the mixing attachment, and when it starts to come together cohesively, I switch to my dough hook. Mix/knead for about two minutes, then let it rest for five minutes. Then knead for five minutes more and rest for five. Repeat once more, for a total of 12 minutes of kneading and 10 of resting. Add more flour if it’s too sticky or more water if it’s too stiff.

By now, your squash should be cool enough to handle. Just scrape the innards into a bowl and add salt and pepper and optional cheese or nutritional yeast to taste. Combine. It’ll take no time at all, as long as your squash is cooked thoroughly.

Prepare a clean, flat surface (I used a cookie sheet) with flour to coat lightly. Flatten the dough into a rough disc and then use a rolling pin (or, you know, a Klean Kanteen bottle) to create a long, thin, roughly rectangular piece of dough. It may take a while — my manual dexterity isn’t great, so I bet I spent 15 just flattening the dough — but keep at it until it’s quite thin. Flip it over several times and add more flour as needed. Now cut it into more or less even ribbons. I made eight that were about 1.5″ wide, but the width will ultimately depend on how big your cutter is. Choose something to be your cutter — I used a Champagne flute, which is a little smaller than your standard ravioli pres, but I loved the shape. Delicately score half the ribbons with the shape just as a guide, but do not actually cut anything out.

Use a small spoon to scoop squash mixture into the center of your shape. The exact amount will require a little trial and error, but overfilling isn’t a huge problem.

Grab one of the unscored ribbons. Now, using your fingers or a pastry brush, lightly wet one side of the dough with plain water and place it, wet side down, on top of the filling. Start at one end, and use your fingers to make little ravioli pillows by pressing down around the filling on the outer edges and between each individual ravioli.

Now use your cutter to cut them out. Arrange on a plate or baking sheet, but don’t let them touch.

Aren’t they so cute and puffy?

You probably aren’t supposed to, but I re-rolled the leftover dough and made a few more ravioli, for a total of 27.

Since I only have one working burner, I had to make my topping in advance, but you can also do this part while the pasta is boiling. Anyway, to prepare the sage, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the whole sage leaves and fry for a couple of minutes, until they get crunchy. Place on a paper towel to cool.

Now boil water in a large pot. Add the ravioli one at a time, stir the pot, and let cook. They will float to the top when they’re done, and it’ll take about five minutes max.

Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and the crushed sage.

Makes two servings for very hungry people.

See? Labor intensive but completely worth it! We served it with sides of roasted zucchini (multi-season squash, hey!) and sauteed chard with garlic.

Plus a bottle of pinot grigio. I also added a little more pepper and some crushed red pepper to my pasta. Here is my dinner all together:

Yay! Like I said, it was a gourmet meal at home that was delicious, filling, and full of organic produce from my CSA box. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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8 Responses to “Gourmet at home”

  1. Dana Staves September 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    I don’t know why I’m so intimidated to try making ravioli, but this blog post makes me a little less afraid. (And, you know, hungry.) Great!

    • Brigid September 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Like I said, it’s time consuming, but the process is totally doable, especially on a Saturday. Plus, fresh pasta is just so tender and delicious. I highly recommend giving it a go!

  2. inherchucks September 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Wow! You go Brigid!!!

    I love butternut squash ravioli. I made some once but I totally cheated and used wonton wrappers. You have inspired me to revisit my recipe and go all the way 🙂

    Thanks for linking up and sharing your delicious recipe.

    • Brigid September 25, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      I thought they were fun to make! I’ve done little empanadas with wonton wrappers before, and they do make it easier, though they have their own little set of challenges, too.

  3. Tammy September 25, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    I’m with Dana. These are so intimidating to me but I will have to give it a try. They look great. I cooked ravioli on the grill the other night and we loved them that way.

    • Brigid September 25, 2012 at 7:21 am #

      If you can make pie crust, you can make ravioli. And if you’ve never made pie crust, then you should give it a go, too! (How’s that for some fuzzy logic?)

  4. naimavanswol September 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Yum. I have been meaning to make ravioli, too! Looks so yummy!

  5. My Little Italian Kitchen September 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    they are beautifully made. Yummy!

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