I recently ordered a library worth of cookbooks and, while skimming through pages and pages of recipes, I was struck by a butternut squash ravioli recipe from head chef David Tanis’ book Heart of the Artichoke. Admittedly, there is a fair amount of prep work and patience required, but the combination of a few simple ingredients–slightly sweet butternut squash and heady fragrant sage–makes for a delicious meal.
Ingredients (for the filling):
Kosher salt and pepper
4 prepared pasta sheets measuring about 4-in. wide by 16-in. long (can be found in specialty grocery stores or handmade using this recipe)
1 large butternut squash (about 2 lbs.)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. freshly grated pecorino romano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Grated zest of 1 lemon (I prefer Meyer lemons.)
Freshly ground nutmeg
Ingredients (for the sauce):
Kosher salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
A small bunch of sage (about 4-6 leaves per person)
1 garlic clove, smashed to a paste with a little salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon (Again, I prefer Meyer lemons.)
Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
1) To prepare the filling, start by pre-heating the oven to 375°F. Slice the squash lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds (an ice cream scoop works well), and put on a baking sheet, skin side up. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is tender when tested with a fork. Set aside to cool.
2) Scoop out the flesh of the squash and put it into a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper–the squash should only be slightly sweet. Add the rest of the filling ingredients, including a little grated nutmeg, and stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3) Divide pasta sheets into 4 equal pieces and flatten; the pasta sheet should be very thin. Using a small spoon, place 2 tbsp of filling slightly off-center onto each square. With a pasty brush or fingertip, lightly moisten the edges with water, then fold each square over into a triangle; seal well. Repeat with the remaining 3 squares. Place the triangles on a lightly floured towel; cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate or let cool for 1 hour at room temperature until ready to cook.
4) Place cooled ravioli in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes; careful not to overboil as filling will fall out. When the ravioli begin to float to top, remove with slotted spoon and place on plate or in bowl. Quickly make the sauce by melting butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, toss in torn sage leaves, season with salt and pepper, and let sizzle a bit. Stir in garlic while being careful not to let it brown. Turn off heat, squeeze in lemon juice, and stir. Pour the sauce over the ravioli; garnish with pumpkin seeds if desired. Serve immediately.