butternut squash, leek, and ricotta ravioli with browned butter and sage

Fresh pasta takes some dedication and effort to make, but the end product is incredibly chewy, flavorful, and delicious - very different from store-bought dried pasta. There are thousands of recipes for fresh pasta dough all over the internet, but I found one site by Serious Eats that details the science behind fresh pasta and decided that I couldn't go wrong with their tested proportions. For this recipe, you will be grateful for a pasta roller, although the dough can also be rolled out with a traditional rolling pin. I filled the ravioli with roasted butternut squash, leeks, and ricotta, and topped the pasta with nutty browned butter and sage. I would recommend serving this dish with a side green salad to balance the richness of the entree.

 

Pasta Dough:

  • All-purpose flour (2 cups)

  • Eggs (2 whole eggs)

  • Egg yolks (4 egg yolks)

  • Salt (1 teaspoon)

 

Pasta Filling:

  • Butternut squash (2 and 1/2 cups, roughly chopped)

  • Leeks (2 large stalks, white and green parts sliced)

  • Butter (1 tablespoon)

  • Ricotta (1 cup, whole milk variety)

  • Olive oil (1/2 cup)

  • Salt (1 teaspoon)

 

Brown butter sauce:

  • Butter (2 sticks, salted)

  • Lemon juice (2 teaspoons)

  • Fresh sage (10-15 large leaves)

  • Parmesan (1/2 cup, for garnish)

 

  1. To make the pasta dough, form a mound of 2 cups of flour on a large cutting board.

  2. Create a well, or carved-out center, in the center of the flour mound. Crack the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks into the center of the well.

  3. Add the 1 teaspoon of salt to the eggs. 

  4. Using a fork, start to break up the eggs and whisk together with the flour. The dough will start to come together into a sticky ball. Use a plastic or metal dough scraper to pick up the extra flour from the cutting board, incorporating into the dough.

  5. Keep working the dough with your hands. Knead the dough ball for about 15 minutes, turning the ball about 45 degrees each time. The dough should start to become smooth as the gluten develops. If the dough is too dry, rinse your hands with water and add just a bit of water to the dough and keep kneading. If the dough is too wet and tacky, add a bit more flour.

  6. Once the dough ball is smooth, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature to rest for at least one hour.

  7. While the dough is resting, make the pasta filling. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  8. Spread the chopped butternut squash onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until very soft (you should be able to pierce easily the squash with a fork).

  9. Transfer the roasted squash to a food processor. 

  10. In a skillet, saute the sliced leeks and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until the leeks are very soft and fragrant. Transfer the leeks to the food processor. 

  11. Add 1 cup of ricotta to the food processor. Turn on the food processor and blend the squash, leeks, and ricotta until smooth. Stream in olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the filling is thick and smooth. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. 

  12. Transfer the filling paste to a bowl and set aside. 

  13. Once the pasta has finished resting, set up the pasta roller on your counter, or flour a large surface if rolling the pasta with a rolling pin. 

  14. Unwrap the pasta ball and cut into quarter pieces. Remove one piece and re-wrap the remaining three quarters.

  15. Run the quarter of pasta dough through the pasta roller on the widest setting. Fold and run again.

  16. Run the pasta dough through the next more narrow setting, folding the pasta dough on itself again. 

  17. Finally run the pasta dough through the next more narrow setting and then lay the long, rectangular sheet of pasta out on a flat, floured surface. 

  18. Repeat with the second quarter of pasta dough. and lay the second sheet of pasta next to the first.

  19. Now you will fill the ravioli. Using two spoons, form large one-inch balls of filling and place onto the first sheet of pasta, spaced 2 inches apart. 

  20. Gently lay the second sheet of pasta on top of the first which is dotted with filling. Using your fingers, press the air out from around the filling and ensure that the ravioli pockets are each closed around the edge (you don't want water leaking into your ravioli centers).

  21. Using a knife, cut out individual square ravioli pieces and set aside (do not stack on top of each other as they might stick together).

  22. Repeat using the remaining two quarters of pasta dough. The dough should yield about 20-25 large ravioli.

  23. When you are ready to cook the pasta, put a large saucepan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Be sure to add two teaspoons of salt to the pasta water to flavor and facilitate boiling.

  24. Boil the ravioli for 3 to 4 minutes. Do not crowd the ravioli in the saucepan so cook in two stages if necessary.

  25. In a separate small saucepan, heat 2 sticks of salted butter until deeply brown, nutty and fragrant. At the last minute, add the lemon juice and fresh sage, which should crisp and fry in the butter. 

  26. To serve, remove the ravioli from the boiling water to a platter and drizzle with the browned butter, sage, and Parmesan cheese. 

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