butternut squash ravioli

Keith got a pasta roller attachment AND a ravioli mold for his Kitchenaid mixer for his birthday... which is awesome. Fortunately for me, he's willing to share and let's me use it. :) It may sound like I'm stealing his birthday present, but in my defense, he has been here every time (3) I've used it so far and he has helped each time.

The first time, we made spaghetti. The second time, we made ravioli with a meat and cheese stuffing. The most recent, and third, time, we made butternut squash ravioli which I have only had about 3 times. Twice in a restaurant and once in a Lean Cuisine. The restaurants were awesome. The Lean Cuisine was OK.

This was kind of an experiment, because I've never made it... and I looked up a few recipes and mixed and matched a bit.

Please note: Amounts will be approximate because I didn't exactly measure everything... but next time I'll do a better job. This will give you an idea, though, if you'd like to try it -- which I recommend, if you have a pasta roller.

First, the inside stuffing:

Butternut squash filling for ravioli
2 c. cooked, mashed butternut squash
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
3/4 c. Ricotta cheese
1 med. shallot, chopped
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. brown sugar

Mix the squash and cheese well in a medium mixing bowl. Saute the shallot and garlic in a bit of olive oil and add the brown sugar, mixing well so there are no lumps of sugar. Drain any excess oil from the shallot/garlic mix and add it to the squash/cheese mix and mix well. Set aside. 

Second, the making the pasta:

Did you know that pasta is only two ingredients? Eggs and flour. Sometimes you need a little water if the dough is too dry, but hardly any. So.... (and this is assuming you have a KitchenAid mixer):

2 c. flour
3 eggs

Put the flour and eggs into the mixer with the standard mixing attachment and mix (on speed 2) until the dough is sticky and in small pieces. The book I have says if there's flour sticking to the side, add water (1 tsp); if the dough is sticking to the sides, add flour. Change the attachment to the dough hook and mix on speed 2 for 2 minutes. It should be in a ball at the end. Then, knead by hand for 30 seconds. Cover it with a clean, dry cloth and let sit for 30 min. to 2 hours.

Putting the ravioli together:

We used a ravioli mold, but if you don't have one, you can shape them yourself. Put the dough through the pasta roller, beginning at setting 1 and up to 5-7. The book said to do 6 or 7 (thinnest) for ravioli. Because we are using the mold, I wanted some extra elasticity to work with and we went up to setting 5. If you've never used the roller before, you start at #1, and then increase as you go and put the dough through several times.

Place the dough on a clean/flat surface and lightly dust the sides that will touch the mold with flour so it doesn't stick (it took me a while to figure this out but it's genius... or common sense... whatever - it works!). Place the stuffing on a layer of the pasta, then cover with another layer and cut with a pasta cutter. Using the mold, it pressed the edges down for me -- but if you're not using one, you probably need to press edges around the sides of each ravioli.

In the end, they hopefully look something like this. These are the ones that turned out best for me, so don't feel bad if they don't look exactly like this. You should see what happened before I figured out the flour trick. :)

At this point, I would recommend getting the sauce started and start heating water to boil the pasta. When you are ready to cook the pasta, put it in boiling water for approximately 8 minutes, then drain, then immediately toss it in the sauce.

And, finally, the sauce:

Browned butter sage sauce
6 Tbsp. butter
8-10 fresh sage leaves
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

In a med/large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring regularly. When the butter becomes hot, watch it closely and stir frequently, as it will brown quickly, and you don't want it to burn. Or so says my mother, who I had to call to learn how to brown butter. But she's right, it happens fast once it starts. When the butter is golden brown, remove it from heat and add the sage leaves (it will bubble up) and the lemon juice and stir well. Let sit until your pasta is nearly done.

When the pasta is nearly done, remove the sage leaves from the sauce and then return the sauce to heat and stir frequently, adding the 1/4 c. of Parmesan cheese. It may brown a bit more, but don't let it burn. As soon as the pasta is done, drain it and then put it into the sauce, toss well, and serve with Parmesan.

And, if all goes well, it will look kind of like this and taste delicious.

Diane was here for dinner and she was surprised (happily) and how light the sauce was, considering it's so much butter, but it wasn't overly rich.

So, there you have it! It was quite a process, but it's something to do on the weekend. AND, you can freeze pasta, uncooked, for a month in the freezer and have it for a quicker dinner some other time. Just put it on parchment paper (on a cookie sheet) and freeze it for two hours. Then put it in a freezer bag. When you're ready to cook it, drop it in frozen - the book says not to thaw it first.

Have you made homemade pasta? Favorites? I'd love more ideas!

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