Pasta is a remarkably versatile dish. You can do so many different things with it and it all starts with some flour and eggs. Homemade pasta can't be beaten. If you haven't tried making your own, you absolutely must. Once you do it once you'll never go back to dried shop bought pasta.
We desperately need to do a supermarket shop. The kitchen cupboards are looking a bit old-mother-hubbardy and there's only a sad looking celery with only one stalk left on it, a couple of lemons and some old carrots left in the vegetable crisper. A quick glance at the nearly empty fruit bowl revealed a solitary butternut squash which probably should have been eaten a few weeks ago.
What could I make to feed my family of five with a butternut squash and store cupboard items? I fancied making a pasta dish.
I keep a good supply of nuts in my store cupboard. Almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts are all purchased in bulk, as are bags of mixed nuts. I reckoned walnuts would work well with butternut squash in a ravioli and a quick Google of 'butternut squash with walnut cream sauce' came up with this recipe and this recipe, which I combined and tweaked into the following recipe. Both original recipes involved sage, but I detest sage so I omitted it.
There's something really satisfying in preparing your own pasta from scratch. My children love it because they get to help turn the handle on the pasta machine and they get to play with any leftover scraps which keeps them entertained (and blissfully quiet!) until dinner is ready.
Making homemade pasta is not a difficult process, once you get used to it.
Pop 100 grams of 00 pasta flour per large egg into a food processor.
Blitz for 30 seconds until the dough clumps together.
Knead by hand for two minutes until the dough is smooth and silky and then wrap it in cling film and chill for at least an hour. This part is important. Something magical happens to the dough while it is resting and if you don't let it rest long enough the pasta will not roll out properly (trust me, I speak from experience here!).
A pasta machine makes short work of rolling the dough out. I was fortunate enough to pick mine up at a charity shop outside Glasgow about 10 years ago for only £5, but there are plenty of modern models available. If you don't have a machine use a rolling pin and roll out the dough as thin as you can possibly get it, and then try to get it even thinner.
I usually use coarse cornmeal to roll the dough out on, but a generous dusting of 00 flour will also work to keep it from sticking to the table.
This dish was fantastic, my partner and I thought. The children, on the other hand, poked and prodded at their meals with scepticism and disdain. We grown-ups think the savoury roasted butternut squash filling perfectly compliments the sweet and savoury sauce and the contrast of the walnuts with texture and flavour, yes, it works very well indeed.
Plus, I think it looks pretty attractive. I served this as a main course, but it was getting to be a bit rich by the end, so we think it would make an ideal appetiser (but not for fussy children!).
Butternut squash isn't in season just now, but the parsley and red onion in the recipe both are, as are the chive flowers in the photographs. I was out collecting some parsley from my own herb garden for the filling when I saw the chives in flower and I've used them for no other reason other than that they are very pretty.
Wouldn't you agree?
Roast Butternut Squash Ravioli with Walnut Muscovado Butter Sauce
A sweet and savoury butternut squash filled ravioli. Perfect as an appetizer.
pasta dough made with 300 grams 00 flour and 3 eggs
1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small red onion, finely diced
340 grams butternut squash puree
25 grams Grana Padano cheese
2 tbsp double cream
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Walnut Muscovado Butter Sauce
100 grams walnut pieces
3 tbsp butter
50 grams light brown muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
generous pinch cayenne pepper
3 tbsp double cream
For the Roast Butternut Squash
1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
2. Halve the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds.
3. Place squash on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil.
4. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until tender.
5. When cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree. Set aside.
For the Filling
1. Heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
2. Saute onion for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning, and then add the butternut squash puree. Stir well.
3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients for the filling. Season well and set aside.
To Assemble Ravioli
1. Divide pasta dough in half. Roll each half as thin as you can get it (a pasta machine makes short work of this).
2. Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the filling 2.5 inches apart on one layer of the pasta dough. Using water to seal the edges, place the other layer of pasta over the top and gently press down between each spoonful of filling, pressing out any air bubbles.
3. Using a fluted pastry cutter, or sharp knife, cut the pasta into individual ravioli. Store on a floured baking tray covered in clingfilm in the fridge until needed.
For the Sauce
1. Measure out walnuts, muscovado sugar, cayenne, salt and butter. Set aside.
2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the ravioli for a few minutes until they float.
3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the walnuts.
4. Turn the heat down and stir in the butter until melted.
5. Add the muscovado sugar, cayenne and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the double cream.
7. Mix sauce with the ravioli and serve.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 2 hour, including resting time for the pasta dough
Yield: Serves 6
Elizabeth is a full-time mum of three and enjoys experimenting and creating tasty dishes in her kitchen.
Blogs at: Elizabeth's Kitchen