Butternut Squash ravioli is the epitome of fall foods. It combines the sweetness of fall gourds and spices with savory herbs, all encased in delicate dough and smothered in butter. For my butternut squash ravioli, I aim for a filling that brings out the sweetness of the butternut and balances it with a bit of tang from goat cheese, and brought back to earth with some sage.
You didn’t use much butternut, do you regret it?
Definitely! Butternut is always preferred because of its stronger flavor and sweetness. I feel it beats pumpkin any day but alas, I couldn’t let that pumpkin go to waste.
How was the texture?
The pasta used in this recipe is 50/50 all-purpose flour and semolina flour. This combination provides the more solid texture that many of us have become accustomed to with dried pasta. I love this texture myself as it feels more sturdy but isn’t tough.
Can the pasta be frozen for later use?
Yes! Coat these babies in some semolina and layer them on a board before freezing. Then you can store them in an air-tight container for a few weeks. Remember to brush off the flour before cooking. Speaking of which, no need to defrost before cooking, just toss them into your boiling cauldron of water and cook them till they float.
Square ravioli cutter Pasta roller/maker Standing Mixer Food Processor Large deep pan
Butternut Squash Filling
2.5 lbs butternut squash puree 3 Tbsp olive oil 4 oz goat cheese 2 Tbsp chopped sage 6 cloves of garlic 1/4 tsp nutmeg salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 cup semolina 1/4 cup corn oil 4 eggs 1 tsp salt
Sage Butter Sauce (per serving)
3 leaves of fresh sage, chopped 2 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp pine nuts
Butternut Squash Filling
For the butternut puree I roasted 1 sugar pumpkin and one tiny butternut squash. You can choose your gourd for this recipe as long as your reduce the water enough.
To roast, I coated the squash and pumpkin in olive oil and placed faced down on a half sheet. Baked at 375 for 45 minutes. When cooled, the skin was removed (easier to do this on the pumpkin than the squash as the skin is thicker and simply comes off) and the meat was pureed in a food processor.
I did not bother to squeeze any water out as I knew I would be cooking this mixture for a while but you are aiming for a consistency similar to what you get in a can and there is no shame in using the can. The can is delicious. I just had too many gourds.
The puree was transferred to a high walled pan and cooked on medium heat until it was warmed through.
The garlic, nutmeg, goat cheese, salt and pepper were added to the hot pumpkin. The idea was to not cook the garlic too much. I didn’t want to lose all of the garlic’s fresh taste but I did was it to permeate the mixture. The nutmeg really emphasized the sweetness which was needed as the sugar pumpkin isn’t as sweet as the butternut.
Lastly, I sliced up the sage and added it in. I didn’t want to cook this completely. I think herbs in general are better when they retain some freshness but I did want the flavor to permeate well.
All the ingredients were combined, dry ones first, in a standing mixer.
Using the hook attachment it was mixed for 15 minutes. This assumed that 5 minutes is what it would take to combine the ingredients and the other 10 minutes provided the dough with much needed kneading.
Once the 15 minutes were over, the dough was removed, covered tightly in plastic wrap and allowed to rest. Mine rested for a few hours but 30 minutes should be sufficient. The dough produced was quite soft and elastic. Pasta dough, though relatively dense, should no be hard.
The dough was divided in to 8 sections. The sections not actively in use, were kept covered to keep from drying out.
Each section was thoroughly coated in flour and run through the pasta roller starting at the thickest setting and progressing one by one through each thickness until as thin as your machine will go. Reflouring was needed about half way through.
The dough was then laid out on wooden cutting board. This turned out to be important as the softer wood allowed the stamp to cut through the dough. The wooden cutting board is also good in that it traps the flour better and creates a surface that the pasta dough does not readily stick to. If you’re using a ravioli mold or other methods you may not need the softer surface.
I used a 1/2 tablespoon (25mm) sized scooper for each ravioli and arranged the filling in a grid with roughly 1 inch between them over half of the rolled dough. The remaining dough was then folded to cover the filling.
Because the filling creates a mound, the upper layer of dough must be stretched gently. The dough was pulled closed around each mound by pressing down gently with my fingers to create a seal. It’s important while doing this to push out the air. This reduces the change of the ravioli bursting while cooking.
Once each mound was sealed, they were all stamped out using a square stamper like the one in the picture and placed on a board. I recommend if you’re using plastic, cover the board in plastic wrap and then a layer of flour. The flour alone doesn’t eliminate the sticking enough. Over time, the flour on a plastic board absorbs moisture, especially in the freezer, and creates a nice glue for your ravioli. The plastic wrap really helps here, though honestly I couldn’t tell you why.
When you run out of room on the first layer of ravioli, you can cover them in more flour (I switched to semolina at this point as I felt it was easier to brush off later) and place another sheet of plastic wrap and flour and layer more on top. The idea here is to layers them well enough that they can freeze flat but not require every square inch of space in your freezer.
Finally, freeze them for 3 hours or overnight before transferring them into a storage container. Keep in the freezer until ready to cook. They will keep for months like this.
Cooking and Plating
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The more water, the longer it take and the lower the change of them sticking together. I’ve done it with 6 quarts and with 2. It depends on how much you want to watch it.
While the water is coming to a boil, toast your pine nuts on a dry skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet melt you butter over medium heat. Add the sage and let it infuse the butter with flavor. The tricky part here is finding the right time to add the sage so that the butter has time to get a little brown before the sage is completely charred. This will depend on your hear but it’s also why I recommend not using high heat here. Melt the butter, give it a little time to cook, and then add the sage.
Do NOT defrost the ravioli. While frozen they are very easy to handle. Simply brush the excess flour from each and throw them into the boiling water.
Cook until they float and the dough is consistently cooked through. If they dough looks like it’s all one color, they’re done. If they flour but the dough seems a bit splotchy, give it another couple minutes.
Strain the ravioli, plate it, drizzle the butter and sage over the top, and scatter the pine nuts. As additional toppings I recommend adding some grated parmesan or some grated cured egg yolks.
Pasta is a very versatile dish as the dough itself is rather bland and lends well to sauces and toppings. To me a pasta should be delicate enough to be worth making fresh but tough enough to survive rough handling with a fork as it is spun around the fork into saucy spools.
What’s the verdict on the first test recipe?
The first test yielded a very delicate pasta. I rolled it out very thin as well so it almost felt like it might break too easily. Instead it held up beautifully and was gentle and tender. It was a good pasta. I wish it had more chew to it though.
How can more chew be obtained?
One option I’m seeing around is to make the pasta with half all-purpose flour and half semolina flour. I plan on trying this next.
Can the pasta be frozen for later use?
Yes and no. If I was to freeze this pasta I would coat it first in semolina and then place it into an air tight container in small nests. The problem is that few containers are truly air tight and inevitably your flour coating will get hydrated and your pasta will stick together. Int he short term you can definitely freeze it but I wouldn’t leave it there long. Next time I would like to try to freeze the pasta sheets instead of the cut pasta. I think this would work better as full sheets are easier to un-stick.
Pasta maker/roller Having the cutter attachment is advisable Standing mixer
2 cups all purpose flour 3 large eggs 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt
All of the ingredients were combined in the standing mixer and mixed on low using the hook attachment.
Once fully incorporated, the mixer was run for another 10 minutes.
After kneading, the dough was wrapped tightly in plastic wrap rested in the fridge for 30 minutes.
The dough was removed from the fridge and divided into 4 equal pieces.
Working with one piece at a time and keeping the rest of the dough covered to prevent drying, each piece of dough was coated with some flour and patted down into a disc roughly 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
The disc of dough was then run through the biggest setting on the pasta roller, then the setting was reduced by 1 and the process repeated making sure to reapply flour to the dough as needed to prevent sticking.
Once the dough was run through the thinnest setting it went through the pasta cutter attachment to produce my fettuccine.