The beginning of fall heralds the season of warm comfort food, and pasta certainly fits the bill! Instead of the usual mac & cheese or spaghetti with meatballs, why not try something different that is sure to tantalize your taste buds?
Comfort food for fall
Although we are beginning to say goodbye to summer, one of the best things to look forward to this fall is the return of soul-satisfying food. Here is one such dinner idea, and while this recipe appears complex, it's actually very easy to prepare, and the result is quite simply delicious.
Butternut squash ravioli with browned butter sage sauce
Serving size 4
1 small to medium butternut squash
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Simple ravioli pasta
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1–2 tablespoons water
One beaten egg for sealing the pasta
Browned butter sauce and toppings
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
4 slices of bacon
1/2–3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts, depending on personal taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
Place the two halves cut side up on a silicone- or parchment-lined baking sheet, then brush the tops with the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until tender.
While the squash is baking, make the ravioli.
Mix the flour and salt together in a pile on a flat work surface such as your countertop or a large cutting board. Form a well in the middle.
Lightly beat the eggs with one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the egg mixture to the well, and slowly mix the flour into it. If it seems dry, add an extra tablespoon or two of water. Knead the mixture until the dough feels elastic and smooth.
Form the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, and cover with a kitchen towel, or wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and set it aside while the squash continues to bake. Allow the dough to "rest" for at least 30 minutes before using it.
In a small skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the walnuts until fragrant while stirring frequently, approximately 2–3 minutes. In a separate skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until fully cooked. Rough chop the bacon, and set both ingredients aside.
When the butternut squash is done, scoop out 1 packed cup for the filling.
Add the 1 cup of squash, ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth.
Using a pasta machine or on a floured work surface, roll out two separate quarters of the dough ball until they are matching, paper-thin, long rectangles. Drop approximately 2 teaspoons of filling every couple of inches on one rectangle, brush the edges with the beaten egg, then cover with the matching pasta sheet. Cut the raviolis into squares, press out the air bubbles and, using a fork or your fingers, seal the edges.
Repeat with the next two quarters of the dough ball. As an alternative — and for fun — use a cookie cutter to create pasta shapes, such as the circles pictured in the photo above.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 4 minutes or until the ravioli floats to the to the top.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly for 3 minutes or until the butter is browned. Add the chopped sage, and continue to cook for 30 seconds more. Immediately remove from the heat.
Top the ravioli with the browned sage butter, then the walnuts and bacon.