Sunday, November 20, 2011

Heirloom Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

This past week I made a Squash Puree from one of the heirlooms we had harvested, Marina di Chioggia, and posted the recipe here . I froze all but 3 cups in order to make ravioli. Two days ago I made the pasta dough (refrigerated), one batch with durum semolina and a second with regular unbleached flour. My intention was to only make the former, but due to its coarseness, I opted to do the other batch, just in case. After all, the food processor was already out and surely with this amount of squash more dough would be required. So I made the first batch of ravioli using the dough with unbleached flour.

Today I decided to make the second batch of ravioli using the durum semolina dough. A thought and then discussion with my husband was wouldn't it be nice to have a pasta attachment for our mixer, and so we began calling/searching to see who might have one locally. None to be found, and that is a good thing because once we saw the cost, my rolling pin was adequate. Besides, I suddenly realized I had a pasta roller, and he was just in the next room. Note: What fun we had making ravioli today.

I found the following recipe from Scala's Bistro in San Francisco, CA, for Butternut Squash Ravioli, but made modifications this evening and may make further ones the next time. For us the zest from one orange was overwhelming even though I used 3 cups of puree. We wanted to enjoy more of the squash.

Marina di Chioggia Squash Ravioli from Diana's kitchen

Ravioli Filling:

3 cups of Marina di Chioggia Squash puree
2 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 teaspoons orange zest
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Nutmeg, freshly grated and to taste

Mix all the above ingredients and set aside. Note: This amount of filling required doubling the pasta dough recipe below. The total yielded 8 dozen ravioli.

Fresh Pasta Dough
(makes 4 dozen ravioli)

3 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs
2 TB water
1 TB extra virgin olive oil

Combine the flour and salt in your food processor and pulse several times to combine. Whisk the eggs, water and oil together, and while pulsing the machine, pour in the liquid in a steady stream. Continue to run until the dough pulls away from the side. Remove, roll into a ball and knead for a few minutes. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water and continue to knead, or if too wet, add a touch more flour. Cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper and set aside and allow it to rest for about an hour. (In our case I refrigerated overnight and then allowed it to warm back to room temperature to make the ravioli.)

Egg Wash

1 egg, slightly beaten
few drops of water

Sage Brown Butter Sauce

10 fresh sage leaves, sliced thinly
3 TB butter

Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Making the dough and rolling it out was rather straight forward, and having recently purchased an inexpensive mold (under $20) proved beneficial. We have always made ravioli the old fashioned way: cut each one out by hand using a small water or juice glass dipped in a bit of flour_ then crimped by hand. Oh, the wonders of technology.

Divide the ball of dough into fourths. Take one-fourth and roll out into a large rectangular sheet, one that is double the size of the mold and with some overlap. Spray the metal part of the mold with olive oil. Cut the sheet in half and place it loosely onto the mold. Insert the plastic mold to make the indentations. Brush the egg wash atop the dough. With a teaspoon, fill the pockets with the squash filling. Place the other half of the sheet on top, press down to allow any air pockets to escape. With your rolling pin, press against the entire mold so as to seal the edges.

Pull away any excess dough, turn the mold upside down and gently release each ravioli and transfer each to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Note: since I freeze most of them, pop the cookie sheet into the freezer. When the ravioli are frozen, place them in your freezer bags and label for later use.

Sage Butter: In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and add the thin strips of sage. Cook over medium heat until the butter begins to brown.

Ravioli: Cook the ravioli in batches in boiling salted water for 4-6 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the ravioli. (ours were rolled out fairly thin)

Remove from the water, drain and place them in the sage butter and saute until slightly browned. Remove to a platter, and pour any remaining sage butter sauce over the ravioli. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and enjoy.

Note: We used the durum semolina dough to make the ravioli tonight, and it rolled out beautifully. It is a much courser dough, but those strong arms next to me had no difficulty.

We pulled a few of the first batch from the freezer that were made with the unbleached flour in order to do a taste test, unbleached vs durum semolina. Hands down, we preferred the latter. In our estimation, there is a marked difference in flavor.